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The Tampa Bay Lightning Strike and Advance to the NHL Finals

May 30, 2015

The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in the franchise’s 22 season history, posting a second straight road (2-0) victory at New York vs the Rangers, in game seven last night. (The Lightning won game 5 in New York by the same (2-0) score).

Thus the Lightning became the first of the three Tampa Bay area teams to advance to the finals for the second time.

The Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in 7 games in the 2004 Stanley Cup final. Both the NFL Buccaneers, who won the Super Bowl/final vs the Oakland Raiders and baseball’s Rays, who lost the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies, have made one finals appearance in their sports league.

Lightning goaltender Ben Butler joined Patrick Roy (2002) and Tim Thomas (2011) as the only goaltenders to record shutouts in seventh games twice in the same playoffs season.

Roy won 4 Stanley Cups, but the 2002 Colorado Avalanche lost in the semi-finals. However, Tim Thomas’ Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup crown in 39 years in 2011.

Coincidentally, Thomas’ 7th game shutouts were first vs the Lightning in the semi-finals and then vs current Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault’s Vancouver Canucks, in the finals.

The Lightning are a stellar (7-3) on the road in this year’s playoffs and would open the finals on the road if Anaheim (Ducks) win tonight’s game seven vs the Chicago Blackhawks.

If the Chicago Blackhawks prevail tonight in Anaheim, the Lightning will host “Chi” in game one.

Stanley Cup Finals start Wednesday

Stanley Cup Finals start Wednesday

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