Written by Lauren Roth
On March 12th, the National Hockey League announced they would be pausing the 2019-2020 season in response to the COVD-19 pandemic. Five months later, the NHL returned to play to finish their season. On August 1st, sixteen teams entered into round one of the playoffs. After three rounds of play, each being the best-of-seven, two teams emerged for the Stanley Cup. In the crazy year of 2020, the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning are fighting it out for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The first game of the Stanley Cup was on September 19th with the Stars coming out on top with a 4-1 victory. Both teams got off to slow starts in the first period with a mere 9 shots on goal between the two teams. The first goal of the game came from Stars defenseman Joel Handley with his first career NHL goal. Seven minutes later, the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde tied the game. In the second period, Jamie Oleksiak scored Dallas’ second goal to bring back their lead. To finish off the second period, Stars winger Joel Kiviranata, scored on a rebound shot with 30 seconds remaining. The Stars put the final nail in the Lightning’s coffin by scoring an empty-net goal at the end of the third period to seal their victory. Though Dallas was able to show their offensive firepower, they would not have been able to take game 1 without the work of their goaltender Anton Khudobin who stopped 35 out of 36 shots during the game.
Game two of the series resulted in Tampa Bay taking a 3-2 victory over the Stars. In the first period, Tampa Bay cashed in on all three of their power play opportunities, taking an impressive 3-0 first period lead. By the second period, Dallas’ fate was nearly set after Tampa barrelled down with their shooting, leading shots on goal 18-5. Stars center Joe Pavelski tipped a shot, giving the Stars their first goal of the game. As the game settled into the third period, center Mattias Janmark brought the Stars closer by making the game 3-2. Though Dallas put up a strong fight in the latter parts of the game, the Lightning rose to the task to further secure their win. After an overturned Lightning goal from Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay took game two in a hard-fought 3-2 win.
As both teams prepare for the rest of the series, it is apparent that a productive offense is what will bring them the title of Stanley Cup Champions. Game four of the Stanley Cup Finals will be on Friday, September 25th at 8 p.m. ET.