NHL Stanley Cup Finals: East vs… East?

The Lightning would love to be able to hoist the Cup for a second straight year, this time in front of fans (preferably their own).

The asterisks keep on coming, apparently. Even as things transition back to normal in 2021, the seasons of the NBA and NHL were compromised by the outbreak, and the Stanley Cup Finals seem to be a good reminder of that. No, there isn’t really an asterisk since we’re not in a bubble anymore, but people will always remember that this season was shorter and played under a bizarre format to accommodate the virus.

The Lightning are going for a repeat, which would be the 15th title that a team in a city Tom Brady plays for has won and further Tampa’s status as the current gold standard of sports cities. The Canadiens are looking to bring the Cup north of the border for the first time since they captured the crown in 1993 against Los Angeles. It’s an odd Stanley Cup pairing, especially considering these two teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals not that long ago in 2015. But give the Habs the nod for crashing the playoff party at the last minute and making it this far.

So who has the edge? Admittedly the Lightning are the superior team on paper and bring the championship experience having just done this last year (albeit in the bubble in Canada). I expect Montreal to battle in this series and wouldn’t even be shocked if they won, but alas, I will take the favorite as the Bolts get to celebrate this title in front of their fans. Pick: Lightning in 7.

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