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After finally climbing the mountain, Tampa Bay Lightning thirsty for more

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by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 13, 2021


TAMPA – Nobody parties like Stanley.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning are thirsty for another round.

For the second time in franchise history, Tampa Bay opens a new season as defending Stanley Cup champion.

Now they want to be the second team in the salary cap era to win a championship in consecutive seasons.

But after chasing that second title in franchise history for six years how parched are they to fill the Cup once again?

“That was so much fun winning that Stanley Cup,” center Yanni Gourde said. “I really want to go at it again
They are about to try to fill that Cup once again.



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There is a reason that only the 2016 and 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins have managed to win back-to-back Stanley Cups . . . winning a Stanley Cup is really, really hard. Running through that gauntlet a second time when teams want to knock off the champ brings about a different type of challenge.

“Why is it so hard to win two Cups in a row?,” Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois asked. “Because it’s really, really hard to win one it’s incredibly hard to win one and you’re trying to beat those odds two years in a row. It’s a significant challenge. And the one thing from my conversations with some of our players over the last few weeks is how excited they are to chase that second Cup and distinguish our current club from other clubs by being one of those rare teams that have been able to win back-to-back Cups. So I’m excited about the challenge and I really look forward to seeing our players and see how they perform as they chase that back-to-back.”

That Pittsburgh team did win a Cup in 2009 and had a taste of a title previously, at least a good part of that core. But they did not get back to a Final again until 2016, when the Penguins defeated San Jose in six games. The following year they defeated the Nashville Predators.

But that’s in in the Cap era, which started in 2005-06. Not even in an era where the Chicago Blackhawks won three titles in five years, or the L.A. Kings winning two titles in three years, has there been another repeat champion. In fact, only the 2008 and 2009 Detroit Red Wings and Penguins along with those 2016 and 2017 Pittsburgh teams are the only team to get back to a Stanley Cup the year after being in the final.

This season, however, is unique and present a different set of challenges to get back to the Final.

Last season was broken up by the pandemic and it wasn’t the normal marathon trek to reach the mountain. There were four months in between the pause and the playoffs recover the grind of the season.

But there were plenty of bumps and bruise accumulated in the playoff bubble and the recovery and off-season escape from that were not the same.

Then there is the fact that the whole pandemic thing is not only still present, it’s worse than it was in the summer months. Getting through this season has a whole different set of challenges.

As far as on the ice, however, there is a sense of focus and understanding that there is some history for them to reach.

“Every year it’s extremely difficult to win never mind two in a row,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “But maybe some teams just get comfortable and happy about winning and having their dreams come true but I think we realize we have a very special group, we were able to keep most of the group intact. But I just think, especially in this year, with how short the season is you just have to get in the playoffs, you have to play well enough in the regular season to put yourself in the position to compete in the playoffs, then anything can happen as we showed this year.

“So we have that mentality of we know what it takes now, each and every single person within this organization had some part in helping us achieve that goal and we can’t just rest on that. We’re excited. I’ve been extremely pleased with how confident the guys have been but also how excited they’ve been coming into this training camp.”

While franchise rarely win consecutive championships, Pat Maroon has won consecutive Stanley Cups after being part of the 2019 St. Louis Blues.

Just as he brought Stanley Cup winning experience to the locker room last season, he now has his name on the Cup in consecutive seasons.

“I think once you win one, you want to win again and there’s a voice in your head, you want another one,” Maroon said. “I think that’s in the back of guys mind I know it is for sure in mine because you felt that feeling and what it’s like and all the sweat and work and dedication you put into the game. You finally achieve the ultimate goal in winning the Cup and I think guys want to do it again. I think we have the core group in here, I still think we have the make up of a team that can win it again. I think we’re eager to get going and hopefully have another chance another stab at it because I want to win as many as I can before I get kicked out of this league.”

And don’t think that Maroon hasn’t been provided some inspired motivation.

“I know a lot of guys that have won the Cup I don’t know many that have one two, why not be one of those guys,” Alex Killorn said. “I mean we got one in our dressing room (Maroon) and you know when he walks around everyone knows him as a two Cup guy we’re the one Cup guys. So I think you do say (where’s the hunger again) but I think for me we know we can do it now, we’ve been there and it’s even more hunger to get another one.”

The Lightning had a bit of a motto that they carried through the playoffs that Stamkos and others had embroidered a hat – Champagne Campaign in reference to dumping as much champagne as possible into the bowl of the Cup and guzzling it down in celebration.

And it doesn’t matter what brand or type is poured in to the Cup, the taste is unmatched.

“Once you taste champagne out of Stanley Cup, you want to do it again.”

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