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The new ‘Ning Dynasty: Tampa Bay’s Bolts win second-straight Stanley Cup

The Tampa Bay Lightning are now back-to-back champions, and look to be the favorite for 2022 as well.

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Pat Maroon of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal past Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Four of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 05, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning are now in the historic NHL dynasty discussion. The Bolts beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday night in Tampa to win their second-straight Stanley Cup.

Ross Colton scored the lone goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots to close out the series. Vasilevskiy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the entire playoffs. He finished with five shutouts over 23 games this postseason.

The Bolts finished in third place in the Central Division during the regular season, five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes. They missed former Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov for the entire season (not without controversy), and injury-prone captain Steven Stamkos out for about half as well. But that allowed some younger players to get in the mix, especially in the three defensive pairs.

It also doesn’t hurt to have the best goalkeeper in the world, and although Andrei Vasilevskiy finished a close second in the NHL’s Vezina Trophy voting, it’s clear after the tournament he’s the best between the pipes on the planet. The 26-year-old now had two Cups, and is under contract through 2028. It’s why this might not be the last for the Bolts, who will be one of the favorites to win it again in 2022.