Bolts Have Their Own Garden Mystique
The New York Rangers are now 7-1 in Games 7 Madison Square Garden.
Tampa Bay is only 5-1 there.
But they'll take it.
All the way to the Stanley Cup finals.
Memo to the Lightning play-by dude: Valium is still available by prescription, and/or Mary Jane is waiting for you in Colorado or Washington. Otherwise, please consult your Professional Broadcasters' Decorum manual.
Full marks to Bolts coach Jon Cooper for pushing the right buttons at crucial times for his exuberant charges who are long on talent and short on deep-playoff experience. And to be fair, the Blueshirts' Alain Vigneault put his players in a position to win -- and Henrik Lundqvist gave them every opportunity -- but no finish = finished.
Making back-to-back conference finals is a feat in itself. Three in a row looks beyond the Rangers' capability, which is harsh reality for the King, whose odds of hoisting a Cup in his career have now taken a major hit. So it goes for Swedish goalies.
As for the Lightning, this could be the start of a few seasons as a serious Cup contender. Who knows if the Babcock factor will alter Steven Stamkos' thinking, but if he remains happy under the Gulf Coast sun and the Bolts keep the rest of their core together, there's no reason why it won't happen.
Still, first things first. Both Anaheim and Chicago are not only menacing, they're better. Tampa Bay will be an underdog. Again.