If it feels like we’ve been here before, it’s because we have. It’s been fewer than nine months since Tampa Bay’s last Stanley Cup chase.
The Lightning are in the midst of their first Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens, who in a normal year are Atlantic Division opponents and would never see each other this far in. But with this year’s realignment due to the coronavirus, here we are.
It’s Andrei Vasilevskiy against future Hall of Famer Carey Price. It’s Victor Hedman against Shea Weber.
Here’s how to watch/listen
Game 1: Monday, June 28, Tampa Bay won 5-1 (Lightning lead series 1-0)
Game 2: Wednesday, June 30, Tampa Bay won 3-1 (Lightning lead series 2-0)
Game 3: Friday, July 2, Tampa Bay won 6-3 (Lightning lead series 3-0)
Game 5: Wednesday, July 7 (8 p.m. NBC)
Game 6:* Friday, July 9 (8 p.m. NBC)
Game 7:* Sunday, July 11 (7 p.m. NBC)
* if necessary
Radio: All games 970-AM
Did you miss anything?
Game 5 coverage of the Stanley Cup final:
Could there be a better storyline than a Steven Stamkos game-winner? Call it poetic justice. Call it nostalgia. Call it a wish for Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final against Montreal.
Ryan McDonagh a critical cog to Lightning’s postseason success: The defenseman has been to the playoffs in each of his 11 seasons in the NHL. If you’ve watched closely, you’ll see he might be having his best postseason yet.
Lightning hope to clinch Stanley Cup on home ice: No team has won the Cup at home since 2015, when Tampa Bay watched Chicago hoist the hardware.
Lightning’s Mathieu Joseph making most of Stanley Cup opportunity: Playing his first minutes in a Cup final, the Tampa Bay forward has two key assists against Montreal.
Game 4 coverage of the Stanley Cup final:
Lightning-Canadiens Game 4 report card: Missed opportunity: Tampa Bay goes 0-for-5 on the power play and squanders its first chance to clinch the series.
As long as you don’t believe in jinxes, the Lightning still have this handled: You may not want to admit it, but losing Game 4 in Montreal means Tampa Bay can be in party mode on Wednesday.
Canadiens avoid the sweep as Lightning will try to clinch at home: Tampa Bay ties the score twice in Game 4, but falls to 0-4 in overtime games this postseason.
When push came to shove, Canadiens stood tall: Also, the Lightning fall to 0-4 in overtime games this postseason following Monday’s loss in Game 4.
Fans keep Amalie Arena buzzing when Lightning are at home or away: After failing to win a second straight Cup on Canadian ice, Tampa Bay and its fanbase look to clinch the final at home in Game 5.
Lightning’s Alex Killorn out for Game 4 vs. Canadiens: The veteran forward will miss his third straight game while Mathieu Joseph draws in for action.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor wants Lightning to clinch on home ice: If the Lightning win Game 4 in Montreal, it would be the second straight time they have won the Stanley Cup in Canada.
Lightning monitoring Elsa in planning return to Tampa: Win or lose Game 4, the team plans to return to Tampa on Tuesday. But that could change.
Lightning hoping for quick end to Stanley Cup final, even if it’s on the road: With a chance to win a second straight Cup Monday in Montreal, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said his team isn’t taking any chances.
Lightning’s Game 4 watch party at Amalie Arena sold out: The team is expecting close to 16,000 for Monday’s gathering, at which fans could see the franchise win its second straight Stanley Cup.
One last ride? Lightning realize crowning moment could be end of current group together: As Tampa Bay closes in on a second straight Stanley Cup, it is enjoying living in the moment.
Jon Cooper teaches. He motivates. He delegates. Mostly, he just wins.: The Lightning coach is second on the all-time NHL coaching list for winning percentage and is a win away from a second Stanley Cup.
Lightning’s top candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy: Who will be the playoff MVP? The postseason points leader? Its leading goal-scorer? Or its best goaltender?
Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov’s playoff run is something ‘we’ve never seen’: Analysts say Kucherov’s return from offseason surgery and battle through injury in the postseason should be the top story in sports.
How the Lightning won a Stanley Cup, then got even better: The roster is similar to 2020, but Tampa Bay has been a better team this postseason because it’s a smarter and more disciplined group.
If the Lightning clinch in Game 4, their families won’t be in Montreal: The team’s relatives tried for an exemption to watch in person, but were denied.
Lightning’s Erik Cernak much more seasoned in third playoff run: The defenseman has more than doubled his production on the blue line since last year’s Stanley Cup push.
‘A totally different city’: How Tampa has changed since 2004 Stanley Cup win: From the Lightning’s first title to their latest Cup run, the city’s evolution has mirrored its sports success.
Game 3 coverage of the Stanley Cup final:
Lightning-Canadiens Game 3 report card: Defending the Cup: The blue line sets the tone early as Tampa Bay moves to within one win of repeating as Cup champion.
Lightning’s Alex Killorn misses Game 3 against Canadiens: The team used the same lineup as in Game 2, with Mathieu Joseph joining the lineup.
Lightning defensemen make record books thanks to July hockey: Victor Hedman and Jan Rutta earned unusual distinctions due to the change in the schedule.
It’s okay, Montreal, maybe one day you can play like the Lightning, too: Three games into the Stanley Cup final and Tampa Bay has outscored sister city Montreal 14-5.
‘I can’t wait to see drunk Kucherov’: Twitter reacts to Lightning closing in on Stanley Cup: Mark your calendars for 8 p.m. on Monday for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.
Lightning one win from clinching Cup, sweeping Canadiens: Tyler Johnson, a bit of an afterthought at the beginning of the season, has made an impact this postseason, scoring twice in Game 3.
Lightning’s Blake Coleman recalls best moment of this Stanley Cup run. No, not that one. Disclaimer: He wasn’t allowed to pick his last-second, second period goal from Game 2 against the Canadiens.
As Stanley Cup final moves to Montreal, NBC Sports’ production team stays in Tampa: Travel restrictions to Canada, and quarantining in Tampa, prevented the national TV rightsholder from sending a full team to Montreal.
St. Petersburg artist teams up with Lightning anthem singer: Matt Shapiro designed a T-shirt as a fundraiser to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in honor of anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey.
Q&A: Ryan Callahan talks Stanley Cup, Olympics, ESPN: The former Lightning wing was a 13-year veteran in the league before retiring at the end of 2019-20.
Thanks in part to Lightning, hockey experiencing a huge warming trend: The success of NHL teams based in the southern U.S. has had a trickle-down effect.
How does the Amalie Arena ice stay frozen in July? It’s hot. And humid. And in Florida. Here’s how the Lightning maintains NHL-grade ice.
Lightning’s Alex Killorn will travel to Montreal, but status in question for Game 3: Jon Cooper could not provide an update, but the fact Killorn is making the trip is a good sign.
Lightning’s Jon Cooper excited to coach in Montreal’s Bell Centre for Stanley Cup final: The league’s longest-tenured coach has special — and painful —memories of the Canadiens’ home arena.
Grieving family brings avid Lightning fan to games — in spirit and photos: Andrew Kreps, 21. died in a Palm Harbor car crash. His sister got his poster up to the glass at Amalie Arena and into the team photo after the conference final.
How will Lightning’s larger home crowds affect Canadiens, Stanley Cup final? Amalie Arena is at full capacity. Montreal’s Bell Centre is not. Sports betting experts don’t expect that difference to impact the Stanley Cup final much.
Game 2 coverage of the Stanley Cup final:
Lightning-Canadiens Game 2 report card: Timely goals, timelier saves: Montreal played the better game, but Tampa Bay was more opportunistic in taking a two-game series lead.
Lightning’s Stanley Cup journey runs right through ice hockey’s homeland: Don’t expect Tampa Bay to enter the sport’s birthplace and just skate away with the Cup.
With one second to go, Lightning get a goal that will live forever: Blake Coleman’s diving score in Game 2 instantly becomes a classic on par with the best plays in Tampa Bay history.
Lightning reach deep for Game 2 win over Canadiens: Tampa Bay didn’t have its best game, but Blake Coleman’s second-period buzzer beater gave the Lightning a boost.
This Lightning fan dances his heart out at postseason home games: Lightning in-game host Greg Wolf says Ellis Allanson’s passion and positivity influence other fans. “We need 100,000 more Ellises.”
Greased Lightning? John Travolta latest famous face at Amalie Arena: The Lightning have been a hot ticket for musicians, athletes and celebrities all season.
Lightning singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey shares her blue lipstick secrets: The singer’s blue lips, coated bit-for-bit in glitter, pop on television every time she steps up to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. It’s mesmerizing. And it’s not surprising that she has makeup skills.
Titus O’Neil surprises Tampa fire captain with Stanley Cup tickets: Captain Dan Quatrino’s first game in 17 years was to Game 1 against the Canadiens.
Rain expected to clear out ahead of Lightning watch parties Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday and Friday will be full of rain, just not during game time, according to the National Weather Service.
Alex Killorn out, Mathieu Joseph in for Game 2 vs. Montreal: Killorn will miss his first game of the postseason as Tampa Bay tries to get the 2-0 series lead over the Canadiens. Meanwhile, Joseph draws in for his first game since May 20.
New to the Lightning? Please, don’t do these things during the game: Lightning fans are happy to welcome newcomers into the fold. Just don’t jinx anything if you’re at a watch party.
Mikhail Sergachev: Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev entered the league as a offensive-minded player but is becoming an impact-maker with his defense.
Lightning shut out of NHL Awards: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Victor Hedman were finalists for the best at the positions. Neither came home with any extra hardware.
Montreal’s Shea Weber fined for slash on Nikita Kucherov: The Canadiens defenseman was fined $5,000 for his slash on the star winger, which was a non-call in Game 1.
What has two Cup runs cost the Lightning? The Lightning have dealt first-round draft picks and prospects to finally build a defense than can handle the rigors of Stanley Cup play.
No Winter Olympics for NHL players? It’s a possibility. After skipping in 2018, the league told players the Beijing Games were a possibility. That’s looking less likely.
Signature calls in Tampa Bay, state: Which sports broadcaster has the most indelible, endearing call of a score or splash play?
Game 1 coverage of the Stanley Cup final:
Lightning-Canadiens Game 1 report card: Tilting the ice: Tampa Bay controls the neutral zone in taking the first game of the Stanley Cup final.
Lightning forward Alex Killorn ‘couldn’t go down the stretch’: The forward played one shift in the third period after blocking a shot in the second.
Lightning take Game 1 against the Canadiens: In the 5-1 win, Kucherov logged a three-point night (two goals, one assist) in just a 20-minute span.
Tampa Bay defenseman Erik Cernak nets first career postseason goal: After 46 career playoff games and a Stanley Cup, the blueliner scored his first goal.
Lightning will revisit old times in series vs. Montreal: With the series split between Tampa Bay and Montreal, teams agreed to return to protocols from the beginning of the year to complete the series.
Lightning will play their first outdoors game next year: Tampa Bay will head to Nashville to face the Predators at Nissan Stadium on Feb. 26.
Winning the Stanley Cup opener isn’t everything for the Lightning: Tampa Bay had never won a Game 1 in the NHL’s championship series (until this year) but has won the Cup twice.
Vasilevskiy vs. Price is the matchup Lord Stanley’s Cup deserves: The Stanley Cup has not seen a goaltender matchup as enticing as Tampa Bay and Montreal in quite some time.
Lightning aren’t full in pursuit of back-to-back Cups: Tampa Bay enters the Cup final with the opportunity to be “special,” according to head coach Jon Cooper.
Jeff Vinik sees a Lightning team that’s evolved: The Lightning owner is impressed by how players learned the lessons that have turned them into potential back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
Canadiens’ Corey Perry is ready for a second chance vs. Tampa Bay: The Montreal forward, acquired from Dallas in the offseason, is facing Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup final for a second straight season.
What it means to Lightning to have Steven Stamkos in this playoffs run: Tampa Bay’s captain played less than three minutes last postseason but hasn’t missed a game yet this year.
Montreal in the Cup final? Montreal has the weakest regular-season record of any team to reach the Stanley Cup final in the past 25 years, but the Canadiens have been a different team in the postseason.
‘No injury’ for Kucherov: The star forward clearly has put the injury that knocked him out of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semifinals behind him.
Beware, Lightning: Canadiens have success locking up top forwards: In each postseason series, Montreal has made the opposing team’s best players non-factors thanks to exceptional 5-on-5 hockey.
Julien BriseBois changed the course of Lightning history:The general manager deserves more credit than he has received for the finishing touches on a team that’s made back-to-back Stanley Cup finals.
No pressure to win in five, Lightning: If the Stanley Cup final goes to six games, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will not be in Montreal. His oldest son will be getting married the following day in Rhode Island.
Here’s our coverage out of the Stanley Cup semifinals win:
Game 7 report card: None better in his own zone: Ryan McDonagh did all the little things to help Tampa Bay build and then protect a one-goal lead.
Lightning return to Cup final with Game 7 shutout win over Islanders: Yanni Gourde’s second-period goal stands up as Tampa Bay dispatches New York in Game 7.
No superstitions here. Lightning’s Hedman touches conference trophy for second straight year: Just like last year, and in less than 10 seconds, the Lightning are kicking any superstitions out of their way.
“Do you STILL WANT TAMPA???’: Twitter reacts to Lightning win: With a 1-0 win over the Islanders, the Lightning move on to their second straight Stanley Cup Final.
Lightning have become the team that refuses to yield: Since being humiliated in the 2019 playoffs, Tampa Bay has won seven consecutive series.
Kucherov returns for Game 7: Tampa Bay’s top scorer is in the lineup after exiting Game 6 early with an injury.
Stanley Cup final to start Monday: Tampa Bay has home-ice advantage over the Canadiens by virtue of having more points during the regular season.
Tampa Bay tries to balance emotions ahead of Game 7: As Tampa Bay’s first elimination game in three years approaches, players and coaches try to feed off the excitement while blocking out the distractions.
How will Lightning adjust to potentially being without Kucherov? Coach Jon Cooper remains unsure whether the Lightning’s star forward will be available Friday night.
Lightning lean on playoff experience ahead of Game 7: Tampa Bay hasn’t been in a do-or-die game recently but knows the feeling of winning and losing them.
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