Stanley Cup: Champions Lightning were inspired by looming break-up to go back-to-back
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper says his side were motivated to win before the group likely breaks up this offseason after lifting the Stanley Cup on Wednesday.
The Lightning won 1-0 over the Montreal Canadiens at Tampa's Amalie Arena to clinch a 4-1 Stanley Cup Finals triumph, lifting the trophy for the third time in franchise history.
Ross Colton, who along with David Savard has been linked with an offseason move away from Tampa, scored the only goal of the game in the second period to seal the back-to-back Stanley Cup triumphs.
"We didn’t talk about it publicly, the team knows they are probably not going to be together next year," Cooper said post-game.
"It was led by Ryan McDonagh, [Patrick] Maroon and [David] Savard, that was the conservation, 'don’t let this end, it's too special a group'.
"They weren’t going to go out without raising the trophy."
The Lightning's domination in recent years has seen them not lose consecutive playoff games since the first round of the 2019 series.
Cooper added: "It's a culmination of your whole life's work. Character that can trump skill. This group has it, gamers all over the place. The players did it. I just sat their chewing gum."
Maroon earned special praise, as he celebrated lifting his third consecutive Stanley Cup, after the left-winger triumphed with the St Louis Blues in 2018-19.
"This was one special," Maroon said. "It's hard to win. [I'm] Blessed to be a part of good teams.
"It's hard to go back-to-back. To be a part of a group that's so special, it's really good.
"You can put me in some good company. I'm truly blessed."