The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched their 4th Stanley Cup Monday night, beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, to take the series in 6 games. The victory capped off a surprising run for the 5th seed in the Eastern conference. The Bolts surprised the Ottawa Senators in round 1, then faced the 8th seed Toronto Maple Leafs in round 2. Both series took 6 games. The Eastern final was an all-Florida matchup against the Panthers. That series went the distance, with the Bolts taking it in 7 games.
Kirill Kabanov led the way against the Kings, scoring 6 goals in the finals, and leading all playoff goal scorers with 13. Playoff MVP Phil ???The Thrill??? Kessel led the team with 25 points (8G 17A) in 25 games, and was stellar on draws, winning more than 63% of faceoffs. General Manager Geoff Smith, in his 3rd season with the team, credited the team???s solid defense and balanced scoring for the success: ???Our defense came up huge, and everyone contributed offensively??? he said, ???it???s a great group of guys, and I hope we can keep most of them and go for a repeat???.
Cam Fowler and Victor Hedman anchored the blueline. Fowler, who was injured in last year???s playoffs, and missed the first 66 games of the regular season, finished with 18 points, and played more than 27 minutes per game in the playoffs. Pending UFA Hedman had 17 points, and led all players in hits (84) and shot blocks (36) in the playoffs. He was also second to teammate Colby Robak in takeaways (60). ???I hope to be back next year??? said Hedman, ???but I know my value, and I know the cap situation. Hopefully he (GM Smith) can work something out for me.???
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