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Remember these? Lightning’s top 15 moments from the past three seasons

Two Stanley Cup championships and three unforgettable playoff runs created some great memories.
Lightning players, from left, Steven Stamkos, Luke Schenn and Victor Hedman spray champagne while celebrating with the Stanley Cup during the 2020 boat parade in Tampa.
Lightning players, from left, Steven Stamkos, Luke Schenn and Victor Hedman spray champagne while celebrating with the Stanley Cup during the 2020 boat parade in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 29|Updated Jun. 29

TAMPA — The past three seasons have given Lightning fans enough memories to last a lifetime.

Two Stanley Cup championships, three conference trophies, 71 playoff games, a pair of boat parades, two banner-raising nights and numerous get-on-your-feet-worthy goals to celebrate.

Remember Blake Coleman’s diving goal in last season’s Cup final against the Canadiens? How about Steven Stamkos’ magical goal against the Stars in the 2020 final? Or Brayden Point’s winner in the fifth overtime of the 2020 first-round opener against the Blue Jackets?

This year’s playoff run didn’t end the way Lightning fans had hoped, and there won’t be a celebratory parade down the Hillsborough River.

But the team’s run to a third straight Stanley Cup final brought more moments to savor before the team returns to the ice in the fall.

Here are 15 of our favorites from the past three seasons:

Point’s fifth-overtime winner

Aug. 11, 2020

The moment that launched the Lightning toward back-to-back titles. Brayden Point scored in the fifth overtime to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 win over Columbus in the opening game of the first-round series. The victory over the team that swept it in the same round one year earlier was the fourth-longest game in NHL playoff history at 150 minutes, 27 seconds and was followed by a full-team celebration against the glass.

Stamkos makes most of time on ice

Sept. 23, 2020

Steven Stamkos hadn’t played in the first 21 games of the postseason (including round-robin games), but he scored on the first shot of his first shift in a 5-2 win over the Stars in Game 3 of the Cup final. The captain, who played only 2:47 the entire postseason, buried a wrist shot in the far top corner and then jumped into the arms of Pat Maroon before he was surrounded by teammates along the glass.

Killorn’s iconic Cup lift

Sept. 30, 2020

Alex Killorn made a lasting impression at the 2020 Cup boat parade in a white cap, white Rays jersey, Pit Viper sunglasses and NHL-themed wrestling belt as he held the Stanley Cup high while standing in his Sea-Doo on the Hillsborough River. The outfit inspired Halloween costumes a month later and was still being imitated by Lightning fans this past postseason.

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Kucherov serves Vinik

Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov celebrates with team owner Jeff Vinik during the Stanley Cup Champions Celebration on Sept. 30, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov celebrates with team owner Jeff Vinik during the Stanley Cup Champions Celebration on Sept. 30, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Sept. 30, 2020

Jeff Vinik hadn’t yet finished his congratulatory speech during the championship celebration at Raymond James Stadium when Nikita Kucherov decided he needed to make an appearance on stage. The right wing ran over to the Lightning owner and embraced him in a one-armed hug, then lifted his beer and poured it into Vinik’s mouth to the amusement of everyone in the crowd.

Banner unveiling in empty arena

Lightning players gather on the ice as the Stanley Cup championship banner is unveiled before the home opener again the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 13, 2021 at Amalie Arena.
Lightning players gather on the ice as the Stanley Cup championship banner is unveiled before the home opener again the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 13, 2021 at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Jan. 13, 2021

It was a bittersweet moment as the Lightning celebrated their first Cup win in 16 seasons by unveiling their 2019-20 championship banner at the start of the following season in a mostly empty arena due to the pandemic. The team waited to raise the banner into the rafters until fans could return, which they did two months later in front of a reduced crowd of 3,800.

Gourde’s series-clinching shortie

June 25, 2021

The Lightning penalty killers were busy trying to keep the Islanders off the board when Yanni Gourde scored the biggest goal of the 2021 Eastern Conference final. He scored the lone goal — shorthanded, no less — as the Lightning won 1-0 to stave off elimination and advance to the Stanley Cup final.

Coleman’s diving goal

June 30, 2021

It was a goal for the ages as Blake Coleman dove forward, outreaching Canadiens forward Phillip Danault, and flicked the puck past goaltender Carey Price with 1.1 seconds remaining in the second period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final. The goal put Tampa Bay ahead by one after a period Montreal had dominated and changed the momentum in a 3-1 win.

Colton’s 2021 Cup-clinching goal

July 7, 2021

One goal was all the Lightning needed to seal the franchise’s second consecutive Cup win. Rookie forward Ross Colton, who began the season with AHL Syracuse, redirected a David Savard pass through traffic into the net in the second period of a 1-0 victory over the Canadiens. It allowed Tampa Bay to celebrate on home ice one year after winning its first of back-to-back Cups in an empty arena in Edmonton.

Goodrow gives up his body

July 7, 2021

When it comes to shot-blocking, few teams are more committed than the Lightning. And while it comes at a cost, Barclay Goodrow’s block of a Shea Weber shot from the right point late in Game 5 of the 2021 Cup final epitomized the Lightning’s willingness to sacrifice their bodies. Goodrow needed a push from Yanni Gourde and Mikhail Sergachev just to get back to the bench.

Kucherov’s podium appearance

July 7, 2021

The Cup celebrations had only just begun when Kucherov took the podium following the Game 5 win over the Canadiens. The shirtless Kucherov gave the team’s most impressionable, unfiltered interview as he guzzled cans of Bud Light. It also led to some trendy T-shirts, parent-approved Halloween costumes and an iconic line that was engraved on the team’s 2021 Cup ring.

Vasilevskiy’s Conn Smythe dance

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy holds the Conn Smythe Trophy over his head during the Championship Celebration on July 12, 2021 at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy holds the Conn Smythe Trophy over his head during the Championship Celebration on July 12, 2021 at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

July 12, 2021

He’s usually behind a mask and doesn’t do a lot of interviews, so it’s not often people get to see the silly side of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. But Lightning fans got a peek during last season’s celebratory boat parade, as Vasilevskiy danced his way down the Hillsborough River while raising the Conn Smythe Trophy (which he received as playoff MVP) over his head and wearing it as a hat.

Taking it outdoors

Lightning players salute the fans after beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in an NHL Stadium Series game on Feb. 26 in Nashville, Tenn.
Lightning players salute the fans after beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in an NHL Stadium Series game on Feb. 26 in Nashville, Tenn. [ MARK HUMPHREY | AP ]

Feb. 26, 2022

It was a star-studded show (Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley were among the performers) all weekend long as the Lightning competed in the franchise’s first outdoor game, defeating the Predators 3-2 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The players even dressed for the occasion, entering the stadium wearing Canadian Tuxedos (denim-on-denim) and fancy western-themed hats.

Point’s season-saving goal

May 12, 2022

Down three games to two to the Maple Leafs in the opening round, the Lightning needed a lifeline to keep their season alive. Again, it was Point who came through with some overtime heroics. The Tampa Bay center netted the Game 6 winner — on his only shot of the night — with 1:56 remaining in the extra period as the Bolts avoided elimination and forced Game 7 in Toronto.

Paul’s series-clinching goal

May 14, 2022

Nick Paul, acquired in a trade less than two months earlier, already had made a strong impression on his new teammates. But a two-goal performance in Game 7 of the opening-round series at Toronto further elevated his status. Paul scored the first of his goals 73 seconds after Point left with a lower-body injury, and Tampa Bay went into shutdown mode in a 2-1 win.

Palat’s late-game heroics

Fans cheers as Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrates along with center Steven Stamkos (91) after Palat scores the winning goal in the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final.
Fans cheers as Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrates along with center Steven Stamkos (91) after Palat scores the winning goal in the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

June 5, 2022

If this postseason was Ondrej Palat’s last with the Lightning — he enters free agency this summer — then what a way to go out. He had many memorable moments, but few compare to his winning goal with 42 seconds remaining in Game 3 of the conference final against the Rangers. His 10th career winning goal (he now has 12) passed Tyler Johnson for most in Lightning playoff history. It was the first of three game-winners Palat scored in the final 10 minutes of play this postseason.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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