New Jersey Devils Rooting Guide For Tampa Bay Lightning In Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) greats the fans 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
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) greats the fans 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 /
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The New Jersey Devils haven’t really had a Stanley Cup dream since 2012 when the team made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Los Angeles Kings. Since then, Devils fans have needed to find alternative rooting interests in the Stanley Cup Final. Sometimes they can be former players going for the Cup, or it could be as simple as cheering against a rival. Today, we will look into who you should root for as a Devils fan by looking at five factors to the game and its ties to Jersey’s Team. Let’s start with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Former Players

This one is a little obvious. Blake Coleman was a huge part of the Devils before he was traded for Nolan Foote and the pick to get Shakir Mukhamadullin. He was someone Devils fans watched grow into a budding star, and he was crucial to the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run last season. Patrick Maroon is another former Devils’ player who spent last season with the Lightning, but he really only had a cup of coffee here in 2018.

History With The Devils

The Lightning and Devils have a strange history that’s turned into somewhat of a little rivalry despite their best seasons never truly coinciding. The Devils have faced the Lightning in the playoffs three times with the Devils holding a 2-1 series record. Their most recent series was the Devils’ only playoff series in the past nine years. It was also a contentious one despite only lasting five games. Nikita Kucherov hit Sami Vatanen high and knocked him out of the series. Victor Hedman purposely hit a then-rookie Nico Hischier where the sun doesn’t shine with his stick. There was a lot of dirtiness from the Lightning side. Some say the Lightning’s 2003 loss to the Devils led to their Stanley Cup Championship in 2004. These two teams are weirdly connected and it shows with the intensity in which they play each other.

This Season’s Narrative

It’s hard to root for the Lightning this season. They are the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They circumvented the salary cap in order to get the team they had. They play on the border of dirty, and Nikita Kucherov “missed” the season with injury just to magically be ready for the playoffs. It would be one thing if this was a desperate team trying to win the Cup for the first time, but it’s really hard to get behind a team doing this for the repeat.

Betting

The Lightning are heavy, heavy favorites to beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final. According to BetSided, the Lightning come in as -275. That means you have to bet $275 just to win $100. Ironically, the moneyline for Game 1 (meaning to bet on the Lightning to win straight up) is only -194. So, you will win more money betting on the Lightning to win Game 1 at Amalie Arena than you would by betting the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup. The Conn Smythe Trophy betting comes with some better odds. Currently, Andrei Vasilevskiy is the favorite at +200. The other goalie, Carey Price, is sitting at +220. Brayden Point scored in nine straight games and has a chance to win the award. He comes in with +380 odds. You can also bet on the length of the series (it’s +500 to be a sweep no matter who wins).

Next. Devils Best Game 7 Wins In Franchise History. dark

Miscellaneous Other Reasons To Root For Lightning

-Some people like to watch dynasties. If you’re one of them, then rooting for the Lightning to keep winning makes a lot of sense.

-There is an “America vs. Canada” aspect to this. A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the Canadiens did this in 1993. There will be a lot of Americans who hope this streak continues. This is actually the first time a Canadian team made the Cup Finals since the Vancouver Canucks did it in 2011.

-The Lightning ended the dreams of the New York Islanders, which some Devils fans consider rivals to the Devils. They also secured a better draft pick for the Devils, and they helped keep Lou Lamoriello without a Stanley Cup outside of his time with the Devils.

-Speaking of the salary cap circumvention, if the Lightning end up winning it all, it could force the NHL to address the loophole it used to get a massive salary into the playoffs. That could help the Devils in the future when it needs an even playing field in terms of the salary cap.