[UPDATE: He did it.]
Pat Maroon has one career NHL hat trick to his name, but he’d like to add one of a different sort over the next two weeks
The Lightning forward is hoping to help his team to back-to-back Stanley Cups, which would also give him three straight championships. Maroon’s run began in 2019 with his hometown Blues ending their title drought. That summer he departed St. Louis for Tampa Bay and he would spend last off-season celebrating again.
Now Maroon and the Lightning are back against the Canadiens, marking the first meeting of traditional Eastern Conference teams in a Cup Final since 1980. That postseason 41 years ago was the start of the Islanders’ dynasty and the last time any NHL player won at least three straight championships.
“It’s exciting. Job’s not done yet, but it’s cool to be in that category,” Maroon said during Stanley Cup Final Media Day. “I’m blessed to have that opportunity to be a part of two really good runs the last two years and now the third one this year. It’s been fun to play with teams that were trying to get over the hump. I’ve been fortunate to play with so many good players, good teams, good organizations. The last two years have been tremendous, especially last year’s run to see the guys get over the hump. They’ve been trying for it for so many years. To what happened the year before [2019’s sweep against Columbus], to bounce back the way we did, I think it was truly amazing to see the effort [and] the time we put in and the work. Same this year.”
Maroon is one of eight different players in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup in two straight seasons with different teams. Only Ed Litzenberger (Chicago, Toronto – 1961-63) and Eddie Gerard (Ottawa, Toronto – 1920-22) have won three in a row with two different teams. Gerard would go on to win the Cup four years in a row.
Postseason hockey has been a regular thing for Maroon. Since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2013 with the Ducks, he’s only missed the postseason once and only failed to get out of the First Round a single time. He’s been a valuable bottom-six contributor, whether it’s on the scoresheet, defending his teammates on the ice, or keeping things loose in the room.
“Pat has brought a lot of leadership since joining the team,” said Lightning forward Yanni Gourde. “Poise, calm, to not be too high or too low after a loss. On the ice, it’s his physical side and toughness. He wins all of his one-on-one battles and he’s excellent below the goal line. He’s so strong physically. You know what he brings every night and you know what his strengths are, so you try to use those to the maximum.”
“I just try to make sure our team feels big going into games and making sure we feel good and we can have pushback, too, and have that energy,” Maroon said. “And if it’s chirping, getting in guys’ faces, fighting, whatever I need to do.”
Most of the Lightning roster has one Stanley Cup ring from last season. Maroon has two and is going for a third. It’s clear there was no hangover from last season and they’re still hungry for another one.
“Once you have that Stanley Cup, there’s no other feeling like it and you just want more of it,” Maroon said.
CANADIENS VS. LIGHTNING – series livestream link
Game 1: Mon. June 28: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
Game 2: Wed. June 30: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
Game 3: Fri. July 2: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 4: Mon. July 5: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
*Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
*Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
*Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (NBC)