June 29 — Game 1, Schedules & SCF Trivia

Monday’s Moon Shot

STORMING OUT OF THE GATE: Tampa Bay wasted no time showing why it’s the defending champ, scoring just over six minutes into Game 1 of the Final en route to a 5-1 win. The Lightning thoroughly dominated the game, outshooting the Canadiens 27-19, and allowing just five shots in the third period.

OFFICIAL BUSINESS: U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau placed a friendly wager on Twitter regarding the winner of the Stanley Cup Final, though terms were not disclosed. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on this high-stakes bet.

SEEING STARS: The NHL announced Vegas will host the 2022 All-Star Game festivities, though the date has not yet been announced. We suspect there won’t be many players opting out of All-Star weekend in Sin City!

ON THE POND: In addition to All-Star announcements, the league also announced its slate of outdoor games next season. The 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be held New Year’s Day at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the Wild will host the Blues. In addition, the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game will be held on Feb. 26 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, featuring a game between the Predators and Lightning.

LIGHTNING HOT: Brayden Point’s three assists in Monday’s Game 1 win mark the first time any Tampa Bay player has recorded three helpers in a Stanley Cup Final game, keeping the forward’s hot streak alive. He now has 11 points in seven career Final games.

Trivia Tuesday

Do you know your Stanley Cup Final trivia?

  1. Since 1970, which team is the only one to make the Stanley Cup Final in five consecutive years?
    • Montreal Canadiens
    • Detroit Red Wings
    • New York Islanders
    • Boston Bruins
  2. Which team has scored the fewest goals in a Stanley Cup Final series since the best-of-7 format was implemented in 1939?
    • Boston Bruins
    • Detroit Red Wings
    • St. Louis Blues
    • Montreal Canadiens
  3. How many times has Game 7 of the Final gone to overtime?
    • 0
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  4. Who was the most recent player to score four goals in a Cup Final game?
    • Wayne Gretzky
    • Gordie Howe
    • Ted Lindsay
    • Maurice Richard
  5. When was the last time a team was swept in the Stanley Cup Final?
    • 1995
    • 1998
    • 2001
    • 2012

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

What Went Wrong

Only two survivors are onto the Stanley Cup Final, which was made possible as two worthy contenders fell by the wayside. To make the NHL’s final four is no small achievement, so — before we pretend like there are only two teams that matter — let’s offer some attention to those who came oh-so-agonizingly close to playing for the Cup. In conjunction with our “In Memoriam” segment, we are using this space to offer some final words to these vanquished hopefuls.

Vegas Golden Knights

In a battle between a team with a share of the best record in the regular season and the worst — among playoff teams, anyway — it was the underdog Canadiens who pulled off a miracle, while the Golden Knights who were left searching for answers.

No one will feel sorry for the incredible track record of the Golden Knights, but it has to be getting a little disconcerting for the league’s 31st franchise — who are still seeking its first Cup victory after having won eight playoff rounds in their four years of existence.

While most observers will focus on the remarkable story being written by the Habs en route to an unlikely first Cup Final appearance since 1993, Vegas should look internally to find some answers as to how — what was arguably their clearest path to the Final — didn’t materialize.

First and foremost, you need your stars to lead the way, and neither captain Mark Stone (0 points, minus-3 vs Montreal) or Vezina candidate Marc-André Fleury (some iffy moments including a colossal Game 3 mistake) were on their game all series. Furthermore, try not to bring up the Max Pacioretty-for-Nick Suzuki trade with any Knights fans for the time being.

Vegas Golden Knights Mark Stone (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That said, there’s no need for GM Kelly McCrimmon to overreact to the loss. Even with an expensive, veteran team, the Knights project to be right back in the Cup mix next season, as they return much of the same roster. They’ll need to figure out if they can retain free agents Alec Martinez, Tomáš Nosek, and Mattias Janmark, and the stars may finally align for a goalie trade to happen.

Vegas players and executives will be left to sit and stew on this loss for a bit, but it really changes nothing long-term. The club should be right back among the cream of the crop next season, doing the same cap gymnastics they were forced into at times this year. However, the burden from the high bar the Golden Knights set in year one is starting to get a bit heavy.

Trivia Answer

  1. New York Islanders
  2. Montreal Canadiens
  3. 2 — 1950 & 1954
  4. Maurice Richard
  5. 1998

Click here for more Stanley Cup Final trivia!