Bolts out of the Cup race

Well, the Lightning made it a series, but congratulations to the Washington Capitals on taking the Eastern Conference title. They put together four convincing wins in this series. When they’re on their game, they can be absolutely dominating. I would like to have seen a game where both teams were at their best, but I feel like that never really happened.

I’ve been watching the Lightning for 25 years, ever since they came into the league. This is a very good team, one of the best I’ve seen, and they have a load of talent, but they just couldn’t get past Washington’s physical play and relentless forechecking. The Stamkos line never seemed to be a threat, the way the Ovechkin line often did. It’s not pure goal scoring talent that wins Cups; you also need grit and physical play. The Caps just had more of that than the Bolts did this series.

Speaking of Ovi, he’s playing like a man possessed. He is absolutely carrying that team on his back. That fire, that drive, is what I never really felt lived in the bellies of the Lightning. Not as much, anyway.

If there’s one good thing about the Lightning losing this series, it’s that I can cheer for the Vegas Golden Knights without reservation. There’s a team that also plays with heart, talent, and grit. This could be a Stanley Cup series for the ages.

Congrats to the Lightning for a great season, especially considering they even didn’t make it to the playoffs last year. This was still a hell of a year for them, and there’s no taking that away. Let’s do it again next year, boys, and next time, let’s take it all the way. Go, Bolts! 🏒

Stuart Maxwell @stumax