The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off one of the most significant accomplishments in hockey history, winning the Stanley Cup back to back: but do they have what it takes to win it all three years in a row?
In the NHL a Stanley Cup three-peat has only been accomplished three times (how ironic) and has not occurred since the 60s. Can a team in the modern era have a chance? If you trust EA’s yearly NHL simulation, then the answer is “maybe.” Either way, a three-peat will not be an easy task.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were the first team to win the cup three times in a row. Defeating the Montreal Canadiens in 1947, then the Detroit Red Wings in 1948, and 1949. The Canadiens have the most consecutive Stanley Cup wins with 5, beating the Red Wings in 1956, the Boston Bruins in 1957 and 1958, the Maple Leafs in 1959 and 1960. The Maple Leafs repeated the feat, in 1962 beating the Chicago Blackhawks, then besting the Red Wings in 1963 and 1964 to hoist the cup.
Of course, it is a different league now filled with salary caps (18 MiLlIoN oVeR), tighter rules, and a higher level of athleticism among players. When Toronto last won 3 in a row goalie masks had just been introduced and not all players wore helmets, but the game was evolving even more into the showcase of athleticism and sport it is today. In the same way the sport changed when goalies put on the mask, the NHL is changing again with the Seattle Kraken joining the league in 2021.
The Lightning lost its star players and critical back-to-back cup team members, but this does not mean the bolts days of winning are over. These off-season deals included Yani Gourde, who was drafted by the Seattle Kraken, Blake Coleman, whom the Calgary Flames acquired, and Barclay Goodrow, who went to the New York Rangers.
While the boys have deservedly been enjoying their off-season and time with the cup, Jon Cooper and his team have been making acquisitions to increase the Lightnings chances of the ever so rare three-peat next year.
Until the season starts the closest we can get to see how the off-season pickups do is check out this year’s NHL simulation from EA Sports. This is only speculation, but it’s a simulation of the season using the game’s current rosters and player stats. This simulation has the Colorado Avalanche beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finals in 7 games. Do you think that’s going to be this year’s finals matchup or no?
I can’t say for sure; If I could, I would be in Vegas placing some proposition bets, but you know I will be yelling “Go Lightning Go” the entire time. I, for one, will be aiming to pick up NHL22 ASAP and playing the season myself. After all, as a Hawaii-based Hockey fan, the NHL games are how I familiarize myself with the players for the year if I cannot catch all the games.
While the Lightning may not win their 3rd cup in a row after this off-season of trades and the expansion draft, I can assure you it will happen in the game (thanks restart button). But luckily for us, there are only 36 days (as of this writing) till the puck officially drops and a new season begins of the most excellent and most competitive game in sports. I can’t wait to shout “Go Light Go” at the TV this season.
Who knows, maybe I can even catch my first live NHL game this year, do you plan to catch a game live this season?