Lightning Ready to Strike Again?

Will youth be served?

The Tampa Bay Lightning enter Stanley Cup play against the Chicago Blackhawks as one of the youngest teams to earn a trip to the finals in recent memory, but that doesn’t mean they’re about to concede anything to their much-more experienced and battle-tested opponent.

Led by their “Triplets” line of Tyler Johnson (12 goals, 21 points in the postseason), Ondrei Palat (seven goals, 15 points) and Nikita Kucherov (10 assists, 19 points) along with megastar captain Steven Stamkos (seven goals, 14 points over 12 games), the Lightning know just who they are, having gotten more than 80 percent of their scoring (45 of 55 goals) over the first three rounds of the playoffs from that very group.

For Game 1 of the Stanley Cup, average ticket prices from Amalie Arena are checking in at $585.73, with a get-in price of $259 when the Lightning’s collection of high-flying, uniquely skilled forwards take to the ice. Tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals may look quite expensive at first glance, but that’s to be expected, with this matchup being one of the more anticipated championship matchups in years. Plus, Tampa Bay has also shown they have the ability to give fans much more for their money when acquiring Lightning tickets.

In their five most important games of the playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, Tampa Bay allowed just three goals total. Ben Bishop leads all goaltenders with three postseason shutouts, including a pair of 2-0 road wins over the Rangers in Games 5 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, thus becoming the first goalie in NHL history to earn shutouts in such fashion.

The Lightning will need that Bishop and not the one that allowed at least five goals in three games against New York to have any shot at conquering Chicago.

The Lighting went 1-0-1 against the Hawks during the regular season, but with the chance to earn their third Stanley Cup in just six seasons now clearly in sight, they figure to have Patrick Kane (10 goals, 20 points in playoffs), Jonathan Toews (nine goals, 18 points) and Duncan Keith’s (two goals, 16 assists) undivided attention this time of season.

But as the first team in league history to defeat three “Original Six” teams — in this case, taking down Detroit, Montreal, and New York — en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning are convinced the time is now to earn their first title since the 2004.

“Confidence is a crazy thing,” said Stamkos. “It’s so tough to get, but when you have it you try to keep it as long as you can. This group has confidence and you need that going forward.”

The series shifts to Chicago beginning with Game 3, when ticket prices are expected to become even more expensive. Parking can be very convenient at the United Center, though, with Chicago parking at, starting as low as $15.