TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning missed their first treble Stanley Cup since 1983 — but they don’t believe their dynasty has collapsed.
“Who said we’re done? That core is here. We fought Captain Steven Stamkos after his team’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday night.
The Avalanche captured their first Stanley Cup since 2001 with the win. They were favored to win the cup when the playoffs began and favored winning that series.
“It’s not like we lost to a powder puff. That over there is a shooting team,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We never had home ice cream. We’ve played against all these star-studded teams. You have found a way.
Cooper agreed with Stamkos that the Lightning’s run didn’t end with the Avalanche. In the past eight years, the Lightning have made six conference finals and four Stanley Cup finals.
“The playoff streak is over. But it’s not the end of our run,” Cooper said. “I’ve been very fortunate in my coaching career to have won championships at different levels and these are the teams that are remembered. Sometimes you don’t remember that much when a team didn’t win. But I think I will remember this team the most. What these guys went through, with the injuries… it’s well documented what warriors they are. You should see what’s going on [with injuries].”
The Lightning were without star center Brayden Point, who missed the last two rounds with a lower body injury sustained in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 14. Point played the first two games against Colorado and was ineffective, and he did not appear in the rest of the series. Forward Anthony Cirelli and defender Erik Cernak were both injured, as were several other players.
“When the injury report comes out, you’re going to be shocked,” said Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon. “I’m just so proud of these guys for what these guys have accomplished over the past three years. We had a damn good run. We just fell short.”
The Lightning go into the offseason with a handful of free agents, including clutch winger Ondrej Palat, trade deadline pickup Nick Paul and stalwart defenseman Jan Rutta. But the core of the team is under contract for 2022-23.
Whether or not they’re contending for three cups in four seasons, Cooper said this group is among the greatest teams in NHL history.
“These guys are up there with the Islanders and the Oilers from the 1980s. Teams that have been talked about for decades,” he said.
https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/34154717/tampa-bay-lightning-denied-three-peat-colorado-avalanche-adamant-not-end-our-run Tampa Bay Lightning denied three-peat by Colorado Avalanche but adamant ‘it’s not the end of our run’