TAMPA — Alex Killorn did not play in the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final because of a broken fibula sustained in Game 1, but that wasn’t going to stop him from his appointment with the Stanley Cup.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won their second straight Stanley Cup title with a 1-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 on Wednesday, becoming the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) to win back-to-back championships.
Commissioner Gary Bettman handed the Cup to Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
“We still have the Stanley Cup, that’s amazing,” Stamkos said.
Stamkos handed the trophy to Victor Hedman, who gave it to David Savard before Killorn got his turn.
Killorn handed the Cup to Ryan McDonagh, who was followed by Pat Maroon, Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Luke Schenn, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, Brayden Point, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph, Curtis McElhinney, Mitchell Stephens, Cal Foote, Christopher Gibson, Andreas Borgman, Fredrik Claesson, Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Ben Thomas, Alex Barre-Boulet, Daniel Walcott and coach Jon Cooper.
Killorn was in skates and full uniform on the Amalie Arena ice for the celebration.
“It’s crazy,” Killorn said. “I rooted for the Montreal Canadiens growing up. I’m sure I have a lot of buddies that rooted against me but I’m sure they’re happy now. Montreal had a great season and I was happy for the city but it’s going to be great now for us to celebrate.”
The crowd roared its appreciation for Killorn, who was selected by the Lightning in the third round (No. 77) in the 2007 NHL Draft.
“We’ve been through a lot together,” Killorn said. “I think back to 2015 when we went to the Final (a six-game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks), Columbus when we got swept (by the Blue Jackets in the first round in 2019),” Killorn said. “You know, at that point a lot of people were writing us off, didn’t think we had what it takes.
“I think this group, in a salary-cap era, to go back to back, they will go down as one of the better teams to ever do it.”
Killorn was injured in Game 1 blocking a shot. He took part in the morning skate for Game 4 but did not play in that game and was downgraded to doubtful for Game 5.
“It got worse after trying it,” Killorn said. “Watching the games is like one of the hardest things to do, especially with a close game like this, but it’s all worth it to win it in front of the fans like this. It was special.”
It was also special for Savard, who was acquired from the Blue Jackets in a three-team trade on April 10 that alsi included the Detroit Red Wings.
Savard and rookie forward Colton were the only Tampa Bay players on the roster in this Final that were not on the roster for last season’s championship. Savard had the primary assist on the goal by Colton at 13:27 of the second period.
Cooper received it at center ice and was serenaded with chants of “Coop.” As he lifted the Cup over his head, he mouthed “I love you” to the crowd.
“We were missing this,” Cooper said of the crowd celebrating with the players.
Tampa Bay won last season in the bubble in Edmonton with no fans in the stands.
“It’s like we were doing it for the first time again,” he said. “We couldn’t have written the script any better.”
After management had its turn with the trophy, Stamkos reclaimed the prize and started another lap around the rink with teammates in his wake.
When it was finished, he carried the Cup off the ice toward the locker room to start the next stage of the celebration.
“We’re going to party all night,” McDonagh said.