The NHL is the first post-COVID season to be completed after the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup on Monday, beating the Dallas Stars 2-0. Lightning attacker Brayden Point scored a playoff best 14th goal to lead his team through the most bizarre NHL postseason in league history.

“The beauty of our team is everyone was chipping in,” Point said. “We got tremendous depth. We got contributions from anyone and everyone at different times, and that’s what makes this win so special.”

While anything can happen in hockey, this felt more like a predetermined outcome than an actual challenge of a hockey game with the Lightning dominating the Stars throughout most of the series. “These last six weeks have been really emotional for my family and I, not only on the ice but off the ice,” said captain Steven Stamkos, who played just 2 minutes, 37 seconds in the playoffs but scored a goal in Game 3. “I just want to say to my family: I love you guys so much. To all the friends and everyone who supported us along the way: We love you. We can’t wait to celebrate with you.”

 

Right now is a time for celebration for Tampa Bay and the league as a whole that they were able to pull this whole thing off but the question of what next season looks like still looms over the NHL as they will likely be the first league that has to answer that question. In all, the NHL played 130 games in a bubble, 25 of them into overtime, so they have proved their ability to handle this. But a four-round playoff and an entire season are two very different animals and two very different challenges.

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