Upon returning to the Stanley Cup Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning were sure to include their captain in their celebration.
The Lightning beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in overtime of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday night to win the series.
Anthony Cirelli snuck a puck past Semyon Varlamov in overtime to send his team to its second Stanley Cup Final since 2015.
The Lightning brought out Steven Stamkos to celebrate with them even though their captain has not played since Feb. 25. Stamkos has been trying to work his way back after undergoing core muscle surgery in March. He has been with the Lightning but seems unlikely to play in the Cup Final.
The Lightning also ignored superstition and touched the Prince of Wales Trophy after eliminating the Islanders to win the conference.
Some teams follow the superstition, while others do not and are unaffected. The Lightning did not touch the trophy in 2015 when they lost in the Cup Final, so they had nothing to lose by touching it this time.
Tampa Bay, which was the No. 2 seed in the East, will meet Dallas in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 of the series will be on Saturday.
For the Islanders, they can be happy about their deep playoff run resulting in their first conference final appearance since 1993. They’ll have to wait at least another year before making it back to the Stanley Cup Final, where they haven’t played since 1984.
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