Boston Bruins

Jun 25, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate after beating the New York Islanders 1-0 in game seven of the Stanley Cup Semifinals at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 Stanley Cup Final will be a battle of the Atlantic Division, as the Tampa Bay Lightning punched their ticket for a date with the Montreal Canadiens by way of a Game 7 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.

The Bolts didn’t need much in this contest, either, with a Yanni Gourde shorthanded goal scored less than two minutes into the second period holding as the only goal of the evening by the night’s end.

That meant that it was yet another extraordinary performance in net from the Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.

In what’s become a theme for the 26-year-old Russian, Vasilevskiy turned aside all 18 New York shots faced for his fourth straight series-clinching shutout (an NHL record), and upped his 2021 postseason save percentage to .936 and dropped his goals against average to 1.99 with the victory. Vasilevskiy also had a touch of luck on his side, with no break greater than Mat Barzal’s whiff on a prime scoring chance and with the Islanders in search of the game-tying tally.

With the win, the Lightning are the first team to win back-to-back conference championships since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 and just the fourth since the 2005 lockout, with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and 2009 and Penguins of 2008 and 2009 the other two teams to accomplish such a feat. Now comes trying to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since… the 2016 and 2017 Penguins.

As it relates to the Bruins, the Islanders’ loss means that the B’s streak of being eliminated by the Stanley Cup champions will end after two seasons, with the Bruins falling to the Blues in 2019 and Lightning last year.

Game 1 between the Bolts and Canadiens is set for Monday night at Amalie Arena.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.