With a 3-0 series stranglehold on the Montreal Canadiens, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to be on the verge of winning back-to-back Stanley Cups.
It’s looking like the clock may have struck midnight on the Montreal Canadiens’ Cinderella playoff run.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have won the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Canadiens, putting the Bolts a win away from their second straight championship. Game 4 would also give themselves a chance for the first Stanley Cup Final sweep since the Detroit Red Wings dusted the Washington Capitals in 1998.
In Game 2, Montreal put together a much better effort, outshooting Tampa Bay 43-23. Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall for the Lightning, though, and Blake Coleman delivered an absolutely backbreaking buzzer-beater to the Canadiens at the end of the second period to break a 1-1 tie.
The goal stood as the game-winner in a 3-1 victory, as the Bolts held serve on home ice and took a 2-0 series lead into Montreal.
With a chance to really take control of the series, the Lightning jumped all over the Canadiens at the start of Game 3. Tampa Bay led 2-0 less than four minutes into the game on goals from Jan Ruuta and Victor Hedman.
Tyler Johnson also scored twice as the Bolts would go on to spoil the first Stanley Cup Final game played in Montreal since 1993 with a 6-3 win.
And so, as with whenever a team falls into a 3-0 series hole, it is time to break out the grim statistics about their chances of surviving it. Only four teams in NHL history have come back to win a series after trailing 3-0. It’s been done once in the Stanley Cup Final, by the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs against the Red Wings. The most recent team to do it, of course, was the 2013-14 LA Kings against the San Jose Sharks in the first round.
Game 4 goes Monday night and Lord Stanley will be in the building.
If there’s one bright side for the Habs at this point… Tyler Toffoli may know a thing or two about coming back from a 3-0 series deficit.