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Paul Kukla Kukla's Korner

Published on Saturday, September 24, 2022

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One More Long Cup Run For The Bolts?

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

If this were a movie, the credits would have rolled months ago.

The story of a team’s rise through setbacks and heartbreaks to become back-to-back champions before falling valiantly, maddeningly close to a third consecutive title.

Cue the theme music as they skated off the Amalie Arena ice after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final against Colorado, never to perform together as a band of mismatched brothers again.

But tell me, what if that wasn’t really the end?

What if the Lightning have a sequel to tell?

It’s not likely. The idea of another Stanley Cup run, that is.

The gap between the Lightning and the rest of the Eastern Conference has been growing narrower over the years and may finally have flipped. The Panthers. The Maple Leafs. The Hurricanes. Oddsmakers say all three teams are more likely to win the conference than Tampa Bay this season.

Realistically, the idea of a team reaching the Stanley Cup final five times in nine years is unheard of in the salary-cap era of the NHL.

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