To become a dynasty, Lightning will have to beat one
By Tim Wharnsby
(Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning believe they have what it takes to become an NHL dynasty but first must topple a Chicago Blackhawks team that are bidding for a third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Chicago are the first club to make three trips to the Stanley Cup Final in the salary cap era, which began in 2005-06.
Now they want to be the first to win three championships in a six-season span since the Detroit Red Wings celebrated titles in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
The Blackhawks have the experience and pedigree, but the Lightning boast an upset-minded roster that has produced series wins over three Original Six teams in the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.
Beating three of the NHL's charter members in a postseason has never been done before. Now the Lightning can make it four against the Blackhawks.
"The thing that stands out to me is their team speed and their skill level up front," said Blackhawks All-Star defenseman Duncan Keith. "I remember playing them towards the end of the season, and they beat us pretty good. I think as a team we've got a lot of respect for them.
"They're there for a reason. They've got a lot of speed up front. They've got big defensemen that can move the puck and skate, and a big goalie who can stop the puck, too."
In the mid-1980s, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper became engrossed in the legendary New York Islanders, a team that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-83. Continued...