Lightning Strike Twice

July 8, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

Champa Bay did it again. The Lightning are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

Fun Fact of the Day: After the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win (February) and the Lightning’s first Cup (September), Tampa Bay has won three titles in 282 days. That’s the shortest time between three major pro sports championships in a single city since Detroit in 1936 (Tigers, Lions & Red Wings).



Lightning Strike Twice

Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Repeat Complete: Tampa Bay Lightning Win Back-to-Back Stanley Cups


The Cup stays in Champa Bay!


Through two of the most bizarre and unique seasons in NHL history, the Tampa Bay Lightning are champions of both. The Bolts won Game 5 on Wednesday night (1-0) behind Ross Colton’s second-period goal and a 22-save shutout from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy held the Canadiens to just eight goals in five games of the Stanley Cup Final, finishing with another historic shutout in a closeout game (see below). The Lightning finally raised the Cup in front of the home fans in Amalie Arena after last year’s victory in the Toronto bubble.


Repeat Complete

Tampa Bay joins the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016-17) as the only back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in the last 20-plus years. It’s also the Lightning’s third Cup in franchise history (2004), all in the last 17 seasons.


Vasilevskiy Wins Conn Smythe Trophy

The Lightning goaltender made NHL history with his fifth straight playoff shutout in a series-clinching game dating back to last year’s Cup Final. He allowed zero goals in every series-clinching game this postseason. Vasilevskiy played every game of the playoffs and never lost back-to-back games. He’s the first goaltender to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (Stanley Cup Final MVP) since 2012 (Jonathan Quick, L.A. Kings).


3-Peat for Pat Maroon

Pat Maroon won his third straight Stanley Cup after capturing one with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. He’s the first player to win three consecutive Cups with multiple teams since Ed Litzenberger (1961-64).


Watch: Tampa Bay Lightning Are Back-to-Back Stanley Cup Champions


Canada’s Stanley Cup Final drought is now at 27 years.


Additional Storylines

DraftKings: The New ‘Ning Dynasty: Tampa Bay’s Bolts Win 2nd Straight Cup

Yahoo! Sports: Lightning Dominate Their Way to 2nd Straight Stanley Cup Championship

ESPN+: Why the Lightning Are Most Impressive Stanley Cup Champions of NHL’s Salary-Cap Era



Bedlam at Wembley!

Photo: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Harry Kane’s Extra-Time Winner Sends England Past Denmark (2-1) & Into Euro Final


Bedlam at Wembley! England and Denmark squared off in the Euro 2020 semifinal on Wednesday for a shot at Italy in the finale, and it was the English side who pulled off a stunner. Denmark took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a sensational free kick from Mikkel Damsgaard, but an own goal leveled the score before halftime. After a scoreless second half, it was Captain England, Harry Kane, with a penalty kick rebound in the 104th minute. The shot was stopped, but the deflection fell to Kane’s foot for the game-winning strike as Wembley erupted.


Watch Highlights: England Def. Denmark (2-1)


England’s Major Finals Drought

It’s been 55 years since England’s last finals appearance in a major international showcase (1966 World Cup). The closest they came to winning the UEFA Euro Championship was 1996 when now-manager Gareth Southgate missed a penalty kick in a semifinals loss to Germany.


Euro Finals

England vs. Italy (Sun. 3:00 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

ESPN: Denmark’s Kasper Hjulmand Rips ‘Disappointing’ England Penalty Decision

FOX Sports: Euro 2020 Moments: Harry Kane Sends England to First Major Final Since 1966



Djokovic Nears 3rd Major of 2021

Photo: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

(1) Novak Djokovic Advances to Wimbledon Semifinals; (6) Roger Federer Exits Amid Unknown Future


The No. 1 player in the world is advancing to the semifinals of Wimbledon without the usual cast of challengers standing in his way. Novak Djokovic — fresh off another straight-set dismantling of an unranked opponent — enters the semis with a remaining field void of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev or Rafael Nadal. The next highest-ranked player in the quarterfinals? That was (6) Roger Federer, who suffered a three-set stunner at the hands of (14) Hubert Hurkacz. Hurkacz was also the one to knock out Medvedev earlier in the tournament. Plenty of questions surround the 39-year-old Federer and his tennis future, but no one is questioning Djokovic’s dominance as he closes in on his third major (out of 3) in 2021.


2021 Men’s Major Winners (Runner-Up)

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic (Daniil Medvedev)

French Open: Novak Djokovic (Stefanos Tsitsipas)

Wimbledon: TBD

U.S. Open: TBD


Men’s Quarterfinal Highlights

(1) N. Djokovic def. M. Fucsovics (6-3, 6-4, 6-4)

(14) H. Hurkacz def. (6) R. Federer (6-3, 7-6, 6-0)

(7) M. Berrettini def. (16) F. A-Aliassime (6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3)

(10) D. Shapovalov def. (25) K. Khachanov (6-4, 3-6, 5-7. 6-1. 6-4)


Today’s Schedule (Women’s Semifinals)

(1) A. Barty vs. (25) A. Kerber (8:30 am ET)

(2) A. Sabalenka vs. (8) K. Pliskova (9:45 am ET)


Additional Storylines

The Guardian: Novak Djokovic Beats Marton Fucsovics to Reach 10th Wimbledon Semi-Final

FOX Sports: Tennis World Fears the End of Roger Federer After Straight Loss at Wimbledon



The Home Run Derby Field is Set

Photo: Alex Trautwig / Getty Images

8 Participants Confirmed in 2021 Home Run Derby Bracket


Here come the long balls. Everyone’s favorite summer smash party has a finalized list of participants, and baseball fans should be ecstatic. Whether or not you love the sport, we can all delight in a bunch of grown men teeing off with reckless abandon. Shohei Ohtani (32) leads the home run race thus far. The field is set. The rules have changed. The dingers are coming. Here are the quick bullet points you need to know for next Monday’s 2021 Home Run Derby.


New HR Derby Rules

Seeds Determined by 2021 HR Totals

Single Elimination Bracket (3 Rounds)

Batters Have 3 Minutes in First 2 Rounds

Tiebreaker: 60-Second Swing-Off With No Stoppage


The HR Derby Participants

1. Shohei Ohtani (P, OF, Los Angeles Angels)
2. Joey Gallo (OF, Texas Rangers)

3. Matt Olson (1B, Oakland Athletics)
4. Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals)

5. Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)
6. Trey Mancini (1B, Baltimore Orioles)

7. Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies)

8. Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals)

*Current Seeds Subject to Change


Editor’s Note: We’ll have an in-depth preview and coverage of the 2021 HR Derby & 2021 MLB All-Star Game next Monday and Tuesday (July 12 & 13).


Full MLB 2021 HR Derby Bracket


Additional Storylines

MLB: Joey Gallo Hits 2 Bombs on Night of Home Run Derby Announcement (Video)

ESPN: Defending HR Derby Champ Pete Alonso Has 8 Colorful Secret Weapons



⚾️ MLB: Rays Toss Unofficial 7-Inning No-Hitter

On the same night the Tampa Bay Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup, five Tampa Bay Rays pitchers combined to toss an unofficial no-hitter in the nightcap of a seven-inning doubleheader against the Indians (4-0). Collin McHugh (2 IP), Josh Fleming (2.2 IP), Diego Castillo (0.1 IP), Matt Wisler (1 IP) and Pete Fairbanks (1 IP) combined for eight strikeouts and just two walks.


🚴♂️ TDF: Wout van Aert Soars Over Mont Ventoux

Stage 11 of the Tour de France belonged to Wout van Aert on the Mont Ventoux climb between Sorgues and Malaucene. Julian Alaphilippe led a group of riders that pulled away early in the day, but van Aert claimed his fourth career Tour de France stage victory. Tadej Pogacar still holds the overall lead.


🏀 WNBA: Mercury End Aces Streak in OT

The Las Vegas Aces’ four-game win streak came to an end on Wednesday night at the hands of the Phoenix Mercury in a must-see overtime finish (99-90, OT). The Mercury duo of Britney Griner (33) and Skyler Diggins-Smith (27) combined for 60 points in the win. The Aces relinquished the top spot in the standings back to the Seattle Storm.



🏀Chemistry 101: The Suns Are Acing the Test

Chris Paul is the team leader and superstar, but Phoenix is surging toward a championship for one reason that’s rare in the NBA: The players truly adore each other. If the NBA’s version of a chemistry test determined the champions, the Suns are acing every question. (Yahoo! Sports)


🏈The Dodging Rodgers

“I don’t know, we’ll see…” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers played in TNT’s “The Match” while avoiding questions on his situation — but the commentators knew they couldn’t end the program without asking the reigning MVP if he will be playing next season. (USA Today)


🥊Connor McGregor’s Head Games

It’s not simply a matter of him talking a great game and then having to back it up. For McGregor, the verbal attack is integrated into the offensive game plan. It inflicts a beatdown no less hurtful than sticks and stones. But has he lost his edge ahead of UFC 264? (ESPN)



The Must-Watch List

Wimbledon (Women’s Semifinals)

(1) A. Barty vs. (25) A. Kerber (8:30 am ET)

(2) A. Sabalenka vs. (8) K. Pliskova (9:45 am ET)


NBA Finals

Game 2: Bucks at Suns (9:00 pm ET)



A’s at Astros (2:10 pm ET)

Phillies at Cubs (8:00 pm ET)