HFNHL Lightning Mark First Cup Final Appearance With Win

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Canuck09, May 17, 2020.

  1. Canuck09 Registered User Sponsor

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    Coming off the heels of their Game 1 win, after reporters had done their jobs and had mostly cleared the dressing room, the mood was far more casual than one might expect. This was after all, their first Stanley Cup Final victory in franchise history.

    The billing heading into the Final was the powerhouse Colorado Avalanche, perennial contenders, against a strong Tampa Bay Lightning team that had yet to get over the hump. Game 1 was an exciting affair that highlighted some of the key story lines for the team throughout the season.

    Opening the scoring was Jack Eichel with his 7th of the playoffs half way through the 2nd. Eichel joined the team in a blockbuster trade that saw superstar Auston Matthews shipped out of Tampa. The hope was that he might bring a more balanced yet still dynamic offensive game and he hasn't disappointed.

    Jonathan Huberdeau, the often overlooked star player of the Lightning, put the team up 2 late in the 2nd period. His ability to bring a line together, regardless of who he's playing with, has made coach Sheldon Keefe's job easier all season long.

    As expected, Colorado wasn't going to take this laying down answering with 2 goals of their own, tying it up with a goal by captain Sidney Crosby early in the 3rd period, his 10th of the playoffs.

    With momentum clearly in Colorado's favour, veteran winger Jamie Benn scored his 6th of the playoffs against the flow of the game. Benn, brought to Tampa a couple seasons ago to put the team over the top, hasn't exactly lived up to expectations so far. With rumours swirling that this will be his last season in Tampa, he's stepped it up this postseason to finish the job he was brought in for.

    While Colorado pushed to tie the game up yet again, out shooting Tampa 11-6 in the period, Andrei Vasilevskiy rose to the occasion. Leading the league in Save % (.942) and GAA (1.74) he did what he's done all postseason. He shut the door and led the Lightning to their Game 1 victory.

    Asked for his thoughts as the last team member left in the dressing room long after the game GM Jeff Kirk offered this, "It's been a long road. When I came over from Edmonton, I knew this was going to be a lot of work. The team hadn't been to the playoffs since 2007 and there was seemingly no hope for many years to come. We suffered through some ugly years in Tampa but finally broke through 3 years ago with our first playoff appearance. Looking back, that was probably our most talented team on paper, and my expectations were high. A 4 game sweep later and it came to an end before we knew what happened. Last year we finally won a round before losing a tough 7 game series to the Senators. Thankfully our core continued to work and kept the feeling of disappointment buried in the back of their minds. Then as we made our way through this season we just weren't clicking. There were unexplained slumps full of poor performances and the playoffs seemed to be slipping away from us at one point. I couldn't sit back, I knew the talent that was in the room, so I made a franchise altering move by trading Auston Matthews away, by far my toughest decision as GM of this team. Jack has come in and embraced his role on this team, bringing a slightly different element, one that apparently we needed. It's great that we got Game 1 but there's still 3 games to go and we don't expect Colorado to go down easily. It's been a long road."
     
  2. MatthewFlames Registered User

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    Regardless of the finish to this season, not a single soul would have put money on you turning this franchise around so quickly, even with all the high picks we knew were coming your way. You've been astute in the trade market - used those prospects to gain better ones or great players. You've really done a fantastic job, patience rewarded.
     
    Brent Burns Beard likes this.
  3. Fooladelfia Registered User

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    Congratulations for the cup.
     
  4. Canuck09 Registered User Sponsor

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    Too soon. I don't need any jinx action ruining my season!!
     
  5. Tom HFNHL Stars Registered User

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    CONGRATULATIONS Jeff!!! Well earned win!!
     
  6. DrSense Registered User

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    Congrats, Jeff! An amazingly quick ascent to the title! Well positioned for a sustained run at the Cup as well. Kudos.
     
  7. Brad Palmer Registered User

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    Congratulations!
     
  8. Wildman Registered User

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    Congratulation Jeff, all the rebuilding finally paid of for you.
     
  9. Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Congratulations, Jeff! May your fall from grace be precipitous!
     

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