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Maroon 3-peat? Lightning forward can join elite Cup company

FILE - Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) sets up during the first period of Game 2...
FILE - Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) sets up during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals series against the Montreal Canadiens in Tampa, Fla., in this Wednesday, June 30, 2021, file photo. Maroon would become the fourth player in NHL history and first since 1964 to win the Stanley Cup three seasons in a row as long as the Tampa Bay Lightning finish off the Montreal Canadiens in the final. The St. Louis native helped his hometown Blues win the Cup in 2019 for their first title in franchise history and was with the Lightning when they won last fall in the bubble. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)(Phelan M. Ebenhack | AP)
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT
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(AP) - Patrick Maroon signed with the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2018 to play in front of young son Anthony and try to bring the Stanley Cup back to his hometown.

After accomplishing that in 2019, he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and helped them hoist the Cup in 2020. One more Lightning win and Maroon becomes just the fourth player in NHL history and the first since 1964 to win the Stanley Cup three seasons in a row with two different teams.

“It’s a great achievement,” Maroon said Monday. “It would be an amazing accomplishment, that’s for sure. .... It’s exciting, though, to be talked about like that.”

Ed Litzenberger was the last to accomplish such a feat, with Chicago in 1961 and then Toronto from 1962-64. Even if he’d need another ring next year to match Litzenberger, Maroon would be in a class of his own to be the first player to go three-for-three in different uniforms since the expansion era began in 1967 and expanded the league beyond six teams.

Teammates don’t think it’s any coincidence Maroon has played on so many winning teams.

“He’s got a savviness that he brings with him into the locker room, and it rubs off to guys and brings a certain level of confidence,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “Not over the top, but just enough to know that if you do the right things, you play to your team’s structure, you have a chance to win every night and he keeps that group, our group pulling in the same direction.”

Now facing Maroon as a defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, former Blues teammate Joel Edmundson said the 33-year-old forward brings a winning approach on and off the ice.

“He’s one of those guys that gets guys laughing in the dressing room, and obviously he’s a big part of their forward group,” Edmundson said. “He’s going to hold on to the puck down low and play in the offensive end behind the net. He’s just obviously a big body and a good locker room guy.”

CANADIENS CHANGES

After sticking with the same lineup in Games 2 and 3, Montreal shuffled the deck by making a handful of changes for Game 4. Coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed Jake Evans replacing Jesperi Kotkaniemi amid changes up front and Alexander Romanov and Brett Kulak going in on defense for Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill.

“We have depth,” Ducharme said. “We have options.”

The Canadiens dominated Game 2 for long stretches and lost to the opportunistic Lightning because of a few mistakes. That was the reason for status quo when the series shifted to Montreal, but a brutal start and uphill battle in Game 3 forced changes.

ELSA WARNING

A tropical storm warning was issued Monday for Tampa and surrounding counties with Elsa churning through Cuba and toward Florida.

It’s not likely to affect a potential Game 5 on Wednesday night: The worst of the storm was expected to be closer to Atlanta — former home of the Thrashers — than Tampa at the scheduled start time.

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