NHL

'We've been in spots like this' - Cooper lauds Lightning resilience after Game 3 win

By Sports Desk June 05, 2022

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper praised his side's ability to stay calm, after they snatched a 3-2 win from the New York Rangers in Game 3 on Sunday.

The Lightning were down 2-0 in the second period after power-play goals from Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, but they rallied and Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal with 42 seconds remaining in the game.

After losing the first two games in the Eastern Conference finals, Cooper's side cut the series deficit to 2-1 with the win, keeping their hopes to retain the Stanley Cup alive.

The Lightning coach asserted his side could draw on extensive playoff experience in fighting back from losing position.

"We've been in spots like this," Cooper said post-game. "The big thing for us was, I felt like we had a recipe, we just had to stay with it. I think there are times in this series, we've tried to manufacture things that weren't there, that put us on our heels and gave up opportunities.

"Whether it was a break, whatever you want to call, we weren't in sync. Today we were down 2-0 and I don't want to sit here and say we didn't deserve to be down 2-0 because their power plays have been great, but our five-on-five game I liked.

"We just needed to stick with that and stay out of the box. I think in years past, maybe, panic would have set in at some point – definitely not with this group. No question, being there before, it's really helped us."

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were able to restore parity for the reigning champions, before Kucherov provided the crafty assist for Palat in the final minute.

Game 4 is on Tuesday, with the Rangers looking to make their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2014.

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