Home / Sports / Anthony Cirelli Net’s OT winner, sends lightning to the Stanley Cup final against stars | Bleacher report

Anthony Cirelli Net’s OT winner, sends lightning to the Stanley Cup final against stars | Bleacher report

Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) ahead of NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo / Chris O'Meara)

Chris O’Meara / Associated Press

Tampa Bay Lightning is on its way back to the Stanley Cup final.

For the first time since 201

5, one of the NHL’s top teams will have the opportunity to replay a championship after finishing the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday night.

Anthony Cirelli scored the match-winning goal 13:18 in overtime when goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy came with 26 saves in the victory.

Tampa meets Dallas Stars in the league Edmonton, Alberta, bubbles for the right to lift the Stanley Cup.

The Bolts are 1-1 in the final, after defeating the Calgary Flames in 2004 before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015.

Remarkable artists

Anthony Cirelli, C, Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 Goal (Game-winner), 4 SOG, 4 Blocks

Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 Goal, 6 SOG, 30:41 TOI

Devon Toews, D, New York Islanders: 1 Goal, 4 PIM, 3 Blocks

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders: 41 saves, 2 goals allowed

Cirelli’s overtime winner

If any of the Islanders’ defenders saw Anthony Cirelli sneaks into the fold, they were either too exhausted to stop him or too slow to move him.

The Tampa Bay Center crawled behind all five New York skiers, planted itself right in front of Semyon Varlomov and buried a flow from Barclay Goodrow below the finish line before the Isles goalkeeper could adapt. The result was a match-winning goal that moved Bolt’s four wins away from the Stanley Cup.

Mathew Barzal was the closest player to Cirelli and seemed to have an opportunity to lift the midfielder, but stopped reacting late. Instead, Cirelli moved right in front of the blue suit and out of reach of any defender.

That Lightning forward was able to make the game at all was impressive.

Not only was Cirelli was injured in the second period after colliding with New York’s Anders Lee, whiffed the Islanders on both a point empty opportunity in overtime from Brock Nelson and a power play that came up empty moments before Cirelli’s goal.

Tampa almost wastes the second period

If there was ever a chance to blow the Islanders out of Game 6, the second period gave it and then some.

Tampa Bay went into the second frame at its defensive top, with plenty of scoring opportunities and still came empty. It was one of the most complicated 20 minutes in the series and somehow it led to a zero edge for both teams.

Through ten minutes of play, the Islanders had zero shots on goal with a total of two shot attempts in total. Overall, Bolts beat New York 24-6.

Still, the result was 1-1. No injury, no foul, little action.

The defensive presence from both sides required that lightning strike completely interrupt all offensive opportunities while the islands once again relied on net reminder Semyon Varlomov to turn away the 10 shots he encountered.

Varlomov was also asked to turn off back-to-back Lightning power play and Devon Toews was called for a delay in play and Cal Clutterbuck was caught stumbling.

None of the agencies came back to harm New York.

Instead, the Bolts struggled through obvious exhaustion in overtime, delivering an Eastern Conference title to Tampa Bay.

What comes next

Lightning meets the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup final. Game 1 is set for Saturday, September 19 at 19:30 ET on NBC.

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