The Tampa Bay Lightning hasn’t lost consecutive playoff games in more than two years, and they haven’t faced any winner-take-all challenge for the past eight years.
This may be a sign of how hard they have been to beat in recent playoffs. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face the New York Islanders on Friday night in Game 7.
“When you get to Game 7, you’re aware of what’s at stake. Barry Trotz, Islanders coach, said that you have to play all year in order to reach this point. “You only get one chance.”
After a playoff loss, the Lightning are now 13-0 in games. This includes an 8-0 win over the Islanders in Game 5.
The Islanders won 3-2 overtime to overcome a two-goal deficit and evened the series at three games each.
While Tampa Bay has shown resilience in the past two postseasons like any other team, Coach Jon Cooper and his players don’t take anything for granted as they try to be the first repeat champions after the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016/2017.
“I love how our team has responded to losses in the playoffs. Cooper stated that you cannot rely on this to say that we haven’t lost in the playoffs the past two years following a loss or that we have won every game the last two year after a loss. “We’re going to win.” Cooper added. Cooper said, “That’s a flawed mindset.”
The Lightning defeated Florida in six games and then eliminated Carolina in five to reach semifinals. The Lightning overcame losses in Games 1 & 4, to take a 3-2 lead on the Islanders, who are trying for their first Stanley Cup Final since 1984.
Tampa Bay is in a winner’s-take-all Game 7 after losing at home to Washington Capitals in the 2018 Eastern Conference final.
Trotz stated, “I believe you’re going have two focused teams. Game 7 with a possibility to go to the Stanley Cup.”
It doesn’t get any better for any organization, players or coaches. He said that it doesn’t matter. When you are a child or a young coach, there are many things you can dream about.”
With the solid track record Tampa Bay has built since being swept in round one by Columbus two years ago, the Lightning seem vulnerable to injury sustained by Nikita Kucherov, playoff scoring leader.
Cooper stated Thursday that he didn’t have any information on the best player for the team.
After missing the entire regular season due to hip surgery, Kucherov scored a playoff-leading 27 goals and 22 assists in 17 games. Before being injured on Wednesday night, Kucherov had at least one point in every game of the series.
Kuch is the only one who can replace him. He has had an incredible playoff for us. He’s so deadly out there offensively,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos stated.
Cooper didn’t speculate about Kucherov’s availability for Game 7. Cooper didn’t speculate on whether Kucherov would be available for Game 7.
Kucherov is the leader of the Lightning with 26 points in the 13 games they have won after a loss in the playoffs since the 2019 sweep.
Every team in the league will tell ya, you lose players, and you gain players. Your lineup changes constantly. It’s not ideal to not have your entire lineup when you play in the final four against some of the best teams in league. It’s not. Cooper stated that it does open doors for other men.
“This isn’t new for us. The coach said, “You move on.” “And if your luck is in your favor, it’s a great story.”
New York’s victory in Game 6 was captained by Anthony Beauvillier’s goal at 1:08 into overtime.
Although there is no guarantee that the momentum will continue to Friday night’s game, Trotz was pleased with what he saw in his team.
“I saw resilience. I saw determination. “I saw determination. That’s what I’ve seen all through the year. A team with backbone, character, and all that,” Trotz stated.
Cooper also expects the Lightning to do so.
The Tampa Bay coach stated that he could not guarantee the outcome. “But I know that we’ll show up.”