The Tampa Bay Lightning will be taking on Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals, with the Lightning looking to repeat as champions and the Canadiens hoping to become the first Canadian winners.
As the title suggests, this will be Pat Maroon third-straight Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning only managed the third-best record in the Central Division but have stormed through the playoffs, looking like the best team in the process.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens are fresh off of a 4-2 series victory over the highly-favored Las Vegas Golden Knights despite a middle-of-the-road goal differential this season.
The Lightning has high-flying dynamos like Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point in their lineup; but one member in particular, Pat Maroon, will be making his third Cup Final appearance in as many seasons— almost like an NHL version of the NBA’s Patrick McCaw, who won the NBA Finals in his first three professional seasons with the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.
Pat Maroon Third-Straight Stanley Cup Finals
Maroon has served as the left-winger in the fourth of TB’s lines, accounting for a goal and two assists in the playoffs so far. Maroon is in his second season with the Lightning and his 11th as a professional, previously featuring for the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, and St. Louis Blues.
Once nicknamed “Fat Pat” because of his 6-foot-1, 260-pound frame as a Minor League Hockey player, the 33-year-old was a sixth-round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft; he spent three years with the organization but did not make his professional debut until he was traded to Anaheim. He has since earned better titles for himself, commonly going by the “Hometown Hero” and “The Big Rig.”
Maroon served a more reserve role this season, playing his lowest amount of minutes on the ice per game (11:36) since the 2015-16 season. He also contributed his fewest amount of goals and assists (excluding an injury-plagued 2017-18 season) since 2015-16.
The experienced veteran is well-loved by Lightning fans and neutrals for his aggressive, physical playstyle; he uses his body to create opportunities, relentlessly pursues the puck, and is willing to sacrifice for the benefit of his teammates.
One of the biggest knocks against Maroon is his inconsistency and that he seems to take nights off, but he makes up for these concerns with his power-play excellence. Maroon makes the best of the man advantage by wriggling into tight spaces and using his enormous frame to clog the attacking line and open spaces for those around him and can convert a few chances of his own.
The 33-year-old attacker contributed six points for the Lightning in last year’s playoff campaign and seven for the Blues the year prior, both of which resulted in titles.
Whether or not Maroon and the Lightning go on to win the Stanley Cup Finals remains to be seen, and is likely to follow a grueling series; the Canadiens won their previous matchup in six games and the Lightning in seven, and there is real potential for this matchup to go the distance too. But what cannot be questioned is Maroon’s legacy as a winner, and as a key contributor to teams that have needed his veteran experience in their rotation.
Game One between the Lightning and the Canadiens will commence at 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday, June 8 28, and will air on NBCSN.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.