A new week dawns on the NHL world. In this piece, we have NHL News as the Stanley Cup Final approaches. This, of course, includes the fact that let’s face it there is nothing like a Game 7 especially as the final round draws near. As always, at Vegas Betting, we have the latest news.
What “Seventh Heaven” err Game 7 truly means for New York fans…
Unfortunately for the New York Islanders, the NHL playoff journey had to end.
The fun part of getting to watch a Game 7 this late in the playoffs is to see the tenseness and how much is truly at stake. A trip to the Stanley Cup Final was on the line. For the fans, it is the ultimate. The winner advances and the loser go home.
Game 7 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders was forced by a dramatic Anthony Beauvillier goal in overtime last Wednesday. New York came back from a 2-0 deficit at home to send the series back to Tampa for the series decider. It sent fans into a frenzy on Long Island that bordered on the crazy.
Several layers exist with this story. There were beer cans thrown on the ice and some other “trash” and that caused some issues with other fanbases. It definitely was an unexpected result for the Islanders given how most of Game 6 had gone. Tampa Bay had played an excellent road game and had mostly stifled New York for the better part of 40 minutes before New York made that comeback.
They would do the same in Game 7 except this time, Tampa Bay shut the door. The Lightning outshot New York 31-18 and won Game 7 1-0. Yes, it was a painful experience for the fans but two consecutive Stanley Cup Semifinal appearances is nothing to sneeze at.
The Final End for New York
This was a close series and one likes to see the pain and anguish from New York fans. It is expected. It becomes part of the process in a strange way. Mathew Barzal said something to the effect “we are not just happy making it to this point anymore”. That sums it up right there. There’s now unfinished business again.
Seventh Heaven for Tampa Bay Lightning fans
The NHL playoffs have felt like a long, playoff grind. Tampa Bay advanced past two teams some experts thought to be superior in the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. Then, they had to face the New York Islanders — a team they had vanquished in six games last year. That was on their way to Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup triumph in six games over the Dallas Stars.
They saw some vulnerability in 2021. Last year, Tampa Bay felt more indestructible. 2021 was different as they did not have the home-ice advantage the first two rounds. Despite that, they won the first two road games in each of the first two rounds. Not even Tampa Bay fans felt like their team would dispose of Florida in six games and Carolina in five.
Furthermore, this all led to that seventh game against New York. It was a back and forth series that had a lot of what the 2020 series did. It was physical and ugly at times. This series featured some incredible goaltending and some questionable calls. That is how the playoffs are.
Give Tampa Bay credit though. They found a way to get back to the Stanley Cup Final once again.
As many have said, the path to NHL Stanley Cup glory is filled with lots of bumps and nastiness. The fans are riding a wave that has not been seen since 2017 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Those Penguins were the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. That 2017 Pittsburgh team has a few similarities with this Tampa Bay squad but some differences too.
This year was different for Tampa Bay fans
For Tampa Bay fans, this year has been different. They have had the target on their backs all season. There was the Nikita Kucherov LTIR back and forth. Then Tampa Bay was constantly accused of getting preferential treatment throughout the playoffs which came to a head in the last series. Their fans did not have it easy but again a mostly dominating 1-0 win in Game 7 erases a lot of the ill will.
After the seventh heaven for Tampa Bay…
After the previous step(s), there is still one more hurdle to climb. Tampa Bay must defeat a team kind of like the Islanders. The Montreal Canadiens might be better in some ways.
Basically, this is why.
This is going to be one fun series. Carey Price has been excellent in goal for the Montreal Canadiens and has nearly a .950 save percentage on the penalty kill. Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the few goalies in recent memory to carry a .900 or greater save percentage on the man disadvantage throughout a regular season. Fans are going to be in for some treat.
Again, journalists, fans, and even some teams could not have expected Montreal to play Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Final. It will make for an interesting contrast in styles but understand the Lightning have been here before. They have handled the adversity and so have their fans.
Just imagine if the Stanley Cup Final went seven games. Now, that would be some more seventh heaven. It is heaven that Tampa Bay fans are still living euphorically through until the puck drops Monday night for Game 1.
Chris Wassel is a writer who enjoys many sports disciplines but his first love will always be hockey. That love of hockey spawned from a greater appreciation of numbers resulted in diving into sports betting. He has written articles on various sites for years focusing on betting and naturally NHL picks.