The 2020 Stanley Cup Final will begin on Saturday after Anthony Cirelli scored his first career playoff overtime goal to send the Lightning to the championship series where they will face the Stars – both franchises are in search of their second Stanley Cup.
* Tampa Bay improved to 6-1 in games that required overtime in the 2020 postseason. No team has played more overtime minutes in a single playoff year than the Lightning (185:17).
* The Lightning are the first of the 10 NHL franchises to debut in the 90s or later to reach the Stanley Cup Final three times (2004, 2015 and 2020).
CIRELLI’S OT WINNER SENDS LIGHTNING TO STANLEY CUP FINAL
Anthony Cirelli scored his first career playoff overtime goal to lift the Lightning into the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in franchise history (also 2004 and 2015). Tampa Bay, which has yet to suffer consecutive losses this postseason, improved to 6-1 in contests that required overtime during the 2020 playoffs and 10-2 in one-goal games.
* The Lightning are the first of the 10 NHL franchises to debut in the 90s or later to reach the Stanley Cup Final three times (2004, 2015 and 2020) – Anaheim (2003 and 2007) is the only other of the group to make multiple appearances. Additionally, the Lightning can become the first of the 10 franchises that debuted in the 90s or later to win multiple Stanley Cup championships – Tampa Bay won in 2004 and Anaheim in 2007.
* Cirelli (3-3—6 in 19 GP) is no stranger to big goals in big moments. He scored the overtime winner for the Oshawa Generals to win the 2015 Memorial Cup and played overtime hero again for the Erie Otters in the 2017 OHL Final to help the franchise clinch the J. Ross Robertson Cup in five games.
* Victor Hedman scored his ninth goal of the postseason to move into a tie with Brad Park in 1978 (w/ BOS) and Bobby Orr in 1970 (w/ BOS) for the third-most goals by a defenseman in a single playoff year. The only defensemen to record more: Paul Coffey in 1985 (12 w/ EDM) and Brian Leetch in 1994 (11 w/ NYR).
* Nikita Kucherov earned an assist to boost his 2020 postseason totals to 6-20—26 in 19 GP and match the franchise record for most points in a playoff year, set by Brad Richards (12-14—26 in 23 GP) during Tampa Bay’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2004.
TAMPA BAY IS WORKING OVERTIME IN 2020
The Lightning became the first team in NHL history to earn each of their first three series-clinching wins of a playoff year in overtime. Only one other club has earned three such wins in a single postseason (at any point of the playoffs), their Stanley Cup Final opponent – Dallas (1999 CQF, CSF & SCF). Of note, the Stars have also secured two series-clinching wins in overtime this postseason (R2 & CF).
* The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs mark the sixth time both finalists advanced to the Final by scoring a series-clinching goal in overtime in the previous round. The other instances: 1939 (Boston and Toronto), 1943 (Boston and Detroit), 1968 (Montreal and St. Louis), 1994 (NY Rangers and Vancouver) and 2012 (New Jersey and Los Angeles).
* Tampa Bay earned its sixth overtime win of the 2020 postseason (6-1). Only three teams in NHL history have recorded more in a single playoff year: Montreal (10 in 1993), Anaheim (7 in 2003) and Carolina (7 in 2002).
* The Lightning have played a combined 185:17 in overtime this postseason – the most by any team in a single playoff year in NHL history. The previous mark was set by the Devils during the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs (175:10).
2020 STANLEY CUP FINAL TO OPEN SATURDAY
The Stars and Lightning will go head-to-head in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
* In what will be the first all-time playoff meeting between the Stars and Lightning, both franchises enter the Stanley Cup Final in search of their second championship. Dallas won its first and only Cup by defeating Buffalo in 1999 and Tampa Bay outlasted Calgary in a seven-game affair to win in 2004. Defenseman Darryl Sydor was part of each championship run (3-9—12 in 23 GP w/ DAL in 1999 and 0-6—6 in 23 GP w/ TBL in 2004).
* The 2020 Stanley Cup Final will mark the third to feature two teams that either relocated to a new market or contested its inaugural NHL season in the 1990s or later. The first occurred in 1996 when Colorado swept Florida to win its first Stanley Cup, and the second was in 2007 when Anaheim earned a five-game victory over Ottawa to claim its first championship.
* Dallas holds an overall record of 25-15-4 against Tampa Bay during the regular season (TBL: 16-20-8), with the Stars securing overtime wins in both contests against the Lightning in 2019-20.
* The Stars, who became the fourth team since 1975 to overcome a deficit in each of their three series-clinching wins en route to the Stanley Cup Final, rallied from a multi-goal deficit to win their first meeting with the Lightning in 2019-20 – a contest on Dec. 19, 2019 that featured a 45-save performance from Anton Khudobin. Captain Jamie Benn scored the overtime winner in the latter contest on Jan. 27 as Dallas snapped Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 10-game win streak
* Goaltender Ben Bishop, who has played three games for Dallas this postseason, backstopped Tampa Bay in its last trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. An injury to Bishop in Game 5 of the Final led to then-rookie Vasilevskiy taking over for the final 9:13 of play – earning credit for a win in that time frame.
* The 2020 Stanley Cup Final marks the fifth time the Cup will be awarded in Edmonton, joining 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. Additionally, Edmonton is the northernmost city in which the trophy has been awarded (53.63 degrees latitude).