DENVER — Barring a minor miracle, there will be no Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay this summer.
No historic three-peat.
No boat parade.
Also, it should be said, there will be no shame.
If the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final have taught us anything, it is this:
The better team is winning.
It’s been a long time since anyone has had to say that in Tampa. And there’s no disgrace, no embarrassment for the Lightning to admit that now.
After winning 11 consecutive postseason series — the third-longest streak in NHL history — the Lightning have finally run into a better version of themselves.
Colorado is young, fast, skilled, deep and famished. They look like a team on a crusade after losing four in a row to a lower-seeded team in the playoffs last year. Sound like anyone you know?
The Lightning, meanwhile, have been weakened by the salary cap, battered by injuries and seem to have used up their allotment of good fortune in the postseason.