If you ask the casual hockey fan what the name of the team in Tampa Bay is they’d probably come back and say the ‘Rays’. If you ask them about Chicago, ‘Oh, Blackhawks for sure.’ That sort of disparity has set the tone for the NHL Finals, and so far it has been turned upside down on its head. The Tampa Bay Lightning have shown exceptional poise, coming back from two deficits to acquire wins, as they move two games away from winning the NHL Stanley Cup. A big part of their recent success has come from Cedric Paquette and the rest of the third line guys.
Cedric Paquette is a 21 year old Quebec native who is playing in only his second NHL season. If you told Paquette before the year that he would score a pair of goals, the winning ones in fact, during the Stanley Cup then he would have laughed. Or challenged you to a rematch to NHL 15, the video game. But that’s what Paquette has done. Despite only racking up 19 points during the ENTIRE 2015 season, Paquette has scored goals in backt o back games to help Tampa to 3-2 and 4-3 victories.
It has been this end of the bench, third line play that has doomed the Chicago Blackhawks. Fans like Keith Mann know that, while Tampa Bay has dug deep for every goal, the Blackhawks have merely hoped that their superstars can make the big move. It isn’t working, not so far anyway.