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Anthony Cirelli's OT goal sends Lightning to Stanley Cup Final

Lightning 2, Islanders 1, Final/OT
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Posted at 9:24 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 17:30:26-04

EDMONTON, Alberta — Oh, how the tables have turned for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020.

A year after being swept by the 8th-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, the Lightning are now heading to the Stanley Cup Final.

RECOMMENDED: Stanley Cup Final schedule released

Tampa Bay defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in overtime to take the series 4-2.

The Lightning bounced back after a heartbreaking Game 5 loss in double overtime to the Islanders. Tampa Bay forward Brayden Point returned to ice after missing games 3 and 5 due to an injury.

The Lightning fell on a 1-0 hole after New York's Devon Toews found the back of the net a little over four minutes into the first period.

A little over two minutes after Toews's goal, Victor Hedman put Tampa Bay on board after scoring from an assist off Erik Cernak and Nikita Kucherov.

The Lightning's Anthony Cirelli scored in overtime to send the Lightning to the franchise's third Stanley Cup Final.

During the entirety of their time in the NHL bubble, the Lightning have been without captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos remains out with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay will now face the Dallas Stars for Lord Stanley's trophy.

SERIES SCHEDULE

  • Game 1: Lightning 8, Islanders 2 Final
  • Game 2: Lightning 2, Islanders 1 Final
  • Game 3: Islanders 5, Lightning 3 Final
  • Game 4: Lightning 4, Islanders 1 Final
  • Game 5: Islanders 2, Lightning 1 Final/2OT
  • Game 6: Lightning 2, Islanders 1 Final/OT

HOW THEY GOT HERE

The Lightning secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference bracket after finishing second to the Philadelphia Flyers in round-robin play. Tampa Bay beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team the Lightning got swept by in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, in five hard-fought games.

After exorcising their playoff demons against the Blue Jackets, the Lightning rode Ondrej Palat's hot hand and a game-winning goal in double overtime from Victor Hedman to take down the Boston Bruins in five games.

Palat enters the Eastern Conference Final with a four-game goal streak, dating back to Game 2 against Boston.

The New York Islanders locked down the sixth seed in the conference after taking down the Florida Panthers in four games in the qualifying round. New York went onto beat the Washington Capitals in five games in the first round and then took down the first-seed Philadelphia Flyers in seven games to advance to the conference final.