Updated: 9 hours 7 min ago
TAMPA -- Even at 3:15 a.m., hours after the Lightning's Game 7 win over the New York Rangers, Stanley Cup fever was quickly spreading.
There's no sugar-coating the significance of tonight's Game 7 for the Lightning. Win, and reach its first Stanley Cup Final since it's 2004 championship. Lose, and season is over. There's no sugar-coating the significance of tonight's Game 7 for the Lightning.
Much has been made about the reslience of the battle-tested Rangers, who are 15-3 in elimination games since 2012, and 7-0 in Game 7s at home.
The Stanley Cup Final will begin Wednesday, June 3, the NHL announced today.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the two days before Game 7 will be a much-welcomed break to get healthy.
Center Cedric Paquette is questionable for tonight's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after today's morning skate at Amalie Arena.
With two of the highest scoring teams in the league meeting up in this Eastern Conference Final, there was expected to be some offensive firepower.
Veteran wing Ryan Callahan, who racked up 24 goals in the regular season, hasn't scored a goal in the first 16 games of these playoffs.
Veteran defenseman Matt Carle was back on the ice Sunday for the morning skate, and there's a chance he returns for tonight's Game 5.
If Rangers coach Alain Vigneault looked at reporters as if they had three heads Thursday when they asked about benching star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Lightning coach Jon Cooper went a step farther Saturday when the thought of a goalie change was brought up.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is one of three finalists for General Manager of the Year, the league announced Friday.
For a team that enters Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead, the Lightning and has put up six goals in back-to-back games, the Lightning spent a lot of time Friday morning talking about one major negative - the five goals it allowed Wednesday.
At the end of Friday's morning skate, associate Rick Bowness approached defenseman Mark Barberio to give him the news: he'll make his playoff debut tonight in Game 4.
By the end of the second round, the Lightning had arguably the best goalie in the world, Montreal's MVP finalist Carey Price, taking the blame for a conference semifinal series loss.
Before Nikita Kucherov was the hero of Wednesday night's 6-5 overtime win over the Rangers, the 21-year-old wing blamed himself for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final getting to overtime in the first place.
And he's not worried about it, either. "It's always special, you know, coming here, obviously with my time here," St. Louis said after Wednesday's morning skate. "But right now my focus is not so much my time here. It's really, how do we get past these guys? This building is going to be loud. They feed off those fans. We need a good start …
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has played center his entire life, and is one of the best in the league.
Lightning veteran center Brian Boyle was all smiles Wednesday morning, shaking many hands in celebrating Tuesday's birth of his first child.
Veteran Lightning center Brian Boyle participated in Monday's optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden, which would appear to be a sign of progress.
Coach Jon Cooper said sometimes he watches film of a previous game, and realizes the team played better than he thought.