TAMPA, Fla. — With just four more victories, the Tampa Bay Lightning can join an elite list of teams across all sports that have managed to pull off the elusive "three-peat," or winning three consecutive championships.
A three-peat is incredibly rare in any of the major professional sports in the United States. In fact, it's so rare, it's not been done since 2002 in any major sport.
In the National Hockey League, no team has won three straight Stanley Cup championships since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-1983. Since that time, some teams have won two in a row, but none have managed to win that third Stanley Cup.
The NBA has seen some incredible teams over the decades, with the 1996-1998 Chicago Bulls (led by Michael Jordan) three-peat among the greatest basketball teams ever. But it was the Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers who last hoisted the O'Brien Trophy three straight years from 2000-2002.
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For Major League Baseball, the storied New York Yankees have pulled off the three-peat three separate times dating back to 1936. The last Yankees team to win three-straight World Series championships were the 1998-2000 teams led by Derek Jeter and other Hall of Famers.
You might think some of the most storied franchises in NFL history would have pulled off the three-peat, but in the Super Bowl era, no NFL team has managed to win three straight Super Bowls. The New England Patriots came close from 2001 through 2004, but Tampa Bay interrupted the three-peat in 2003.
If the Lightning can take down the Colorado Avalanche, they will go down as the best team in the salary cap era of the NHL.
“The fact that they’ve made it to three straight Stanley Cups in a salary cap era and they are the first team to ever do it since the league went to a best of seven for every single round. So their historical perspective is already among some of the great teams to ever go through the playoffs,” said Erik Erlendsson of LightningInsider.com.