NHL

Pat Maroon says the Lightning are 'calm' in the eye of the storm after 'gutsy' Game 5 win

By Sports Desk June 10, 2022

In a battle between arguably the two best goaltenders in the world, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy who came out on top in a 3-1 road win against the New York Rangers and Igor Shesterkin in Game 5.

With the win, the Lightning pulled ahead 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, with a chance to close it out in front of their home fans in Game 6. If needed, Game 7 will head back to Madison Square Garden.

Each team lived up to their staunch defensive reputations early on, leading to a scoreless first 30 minutes, before Ryan Lindgren finally found the breakthrough halfway through the second period.

Lightning defensman Mikhail Sergachev equalised with three minutes remaining in the second term, setting up a nail-biting finish.

After 18 minutes of tight, scoreless hockey, Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat was able to deflect in a shot on goal, forcing New York to pull their goalie in a desperation move, only for Brandon Hagel to put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter.

Speaking to ESPN after the win, Lightning winger Pat Maroon said his side is no longer rattled by these massive games after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups.

"I think [our recent success] leads to confidence, it calms the nerves," he said. "When you get settled in, and it's a 1-1 game there, our nerves are calm, we're relaxed.

"We know what it takes, we know how to win hockey games, we know how to close out games.

"When we've been put in situations like we have the last two years, you kind of get that swagger a little bit. We've had that adversity with winning in the bubble, and some other things, but like [Steven Stamkos] said, a good road win would be nice.

"The guys played hard, it's a gutsy win."

When asked about what it feels like to live out every young hockey player's dreams of being part of a great Stanley Cup-winning team, Maroon was thankful for the position he is in.

"I just try to go out there and be a part of it," he said. "Be an impact in the room, or on the ice, whatever I can do.

"Certainly these runs have been remarkable for me, and my family, but it's been fun just to be with the boys, and to see how relentless we are in the room, and what it takes to win.

"Guys do whatever it takes – it's so fun to look around the room and to see all the sacrifices we've put together these last three years, it's honestly amazing. I'm happy to be a part of that."

He added: "I remember playing in the basement with my two brothers… playing street hockey, [dreaming of] scoring that game-winning goal, being a part of the Stanley Cup.

"You want to be a part of those moments. Obviously I'm living it right now – I never thought I'd be in the NHL, winning cups – but I'm living it, I'm having fun with it, and I'm enjoying it. 

"We have a great group of guys in there that make everything special."

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