The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 (4-2 overall in the best of seven series) on Monday night to become the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions.

In a season with unknown expectations, the bubble experiment separated by two major cities and COVID-19 regulations, this Stanley Cup run feels special and different for the Lightning. Defenseman Victor Hedman, who also was announced as the MVP for the playoffs, spoke about what the last 60 days have been like.

"It's been a grind," Hedman said. "It hasn't been easy, but it's all worth it now. We're Stanley Cup champions, and we are going to be Stanley Cup champions forever."

Unless you follow hockey, it is tough to explain to people how special this win was for Tampa Bay. In 2015, the Lightning made it to the Finals only to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games. In 2016 and 2018, the Lightning made it to the conference finals but were unable to advance. Last season, Tampa Bay won the President's Cup (awarded to the best team in hockey based on points), but were swept in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Captain Steven Stamkos spoke on how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup.

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"So many guys would do anything in the world for a chance to win the Stanley Cup," Stamkos said. "There are so many great players who have played this game and haven't had a chance to experience what we just did."

The Tampa Bay Lightning also hit two impressive milestones by winning last night. They are the first expansion team post-1990 to win the Stanley cup twice. If that wasn't good enough, they are also the first team in NHL history to win the cup after being swept in the first round the prior year.

While we don't know what is next for the NHL, we do know that the Tampa Bay Lightning will return home with a championship for the first time since 2004, and that, my friends, makes it all worth it.

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