Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game one of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Nikita Kucherov keys Lightning to win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

TAMPA, Florida — Cinderella might have left that glass slipper back in the last round. 

The Montreal Canadiens appeared to have a chance going into the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lighting. Maybe they did, since they were down 2-1 with one of the hottest goalies on the planet in the net. But the Lightning has a way of making slim leads look like insurmountable ones, and when they scored that third goal coach Jon Cooper knew it was a clincher. 

“Real important, super important, extra important, I don't know which. But it was important,” Cooper said in his postgame Zoom press conference after Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win at Amalie Arena. “Anytime you can get the lead you want to extend it, and when you can do that, then you want to protect it. I thought you know what, it's a 2-1 game, I think when you're going into the period, if a goal is going to be scored, whoever's got the next one, it's probably a pivotal part in the game. It was fortunate that we got it.”

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This article is about:
NHL Montréal Canadiens Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Nikita Kucherov Brayden Point Carey Price Jon Cooper Luke Richardson
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