In one of hockey’s most cherished rites, the Stanley Cup usually spends the off-season gallivanting with players around villages in Canada and hamlets throughout Scandinavia and burgs across the United States. But with the coronavirus pandemic raging last autumn, the silver chalice lingered for a good, long while near Tampa, Fla., where the Lightning relished their time with it so much that they went ahead and won it once more.
Tampa Bay closed a chaotic N.H.L. season dominated by a viral scourge, with truncated schedules and reconfigured divisions and traveling practice squads, by defeating the Montreal Canadiens four games to one in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals to win its third title.
Nine-and-a-half months after enduring a 65-day stay in Canadian playoff bubbles to hoist the Cup, the Lightning edged Montreal, 1-0, in front of a capacity home crowd at Amalie Arena on Wednesday to complete their second consecutive romp through an N.H.L. postseason. In doing so, they followed up the N.F.L.’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers by adding yet another title to a region suddenly spoiled by championships, and also joined the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 2016-17, as the only teams since the dawn of the salary cap era in the 2005-6 season to repeat as champions….
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