The 2020 Stanley Cup Final Is Absurd On Many Levels

Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 2-1 series lead in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, courtesy of a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The highlight of the Tampa victory occurred early in the game when longtime captain Steven Stamkos scored a goal in his first game since undergoing surgery on March 2 for a core muscle injury. From a Dallas perspective, the most memorable occurrence involved coach Rick Bowness electing to pull starting goaltender Anton Khudobin, amid allowing five goals on just 29 shots.

Game 4 of the series will take place Friday night, from Rogers Place in Edmonton. The latest NHL odds for the Stanley Cup playoffs favor the boys from Florida once again skating away victorious and thus taking full control of the best-of-seven.

To say that this season’s version of the Stanley Cup Final is a tad bit bizarre would be one heck of an understatement. 2020 marks the first time that two Sunbelt franchises have ever played one another in the championship round. Making the situation even that much stranger, the battle between squads from Florida and Texas is taking place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the northernmost city in all of North American professional sports.

Tampa is seeking its second-ever NHL title (first came in 2004), after debuting as a franchise in 1992. Upon missing the playoffs in 9 of their first 10 seasons, TB has made the tournament in 11 of the subsequent 17 campaigns. Since 2015 alone, the Lightning have advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in every season but 2019, when the franchise lost in the first round, despite leading the league in regular season points.

Dallas is also seeking its second-ever NHL championship, (first came in 1999), with the former Minnesota North Stars missing the postseason in 8 of the last 11 seasons, after making the second season in 12 of their first 14 years in North Texas.

It what has turned out to be perhaps the most unusual sports calendar in history, it makes perfect sense that the quest for the most famous trophy is all of sports would involve a scenario that no hockey fan has ever witnessed before.