DENVER, Colo. — The Tampa Bay Lightning have dropped a series opener for the third time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, but yet they are still playing hockey.
That is why there is no panic with this veteran team after losing the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
“It's about winning the series. It's not about winning Game 1,” head coach Jon Cooper said Thursday over Zoom. “Would we like to win every single game? No question, but we've also started on the road for all four series. It's about winning the series. Let's turn the page and see if we can get Game 2.”
The Bolts looked a step slower than the Avalanche falling behind 3-1 in the first period against a team that finished with the best record in the Western Conference.
“Everyone in that room agrees, we could've executed better,” Cooper said. “It wasn't an effort thing. It was an execution thing. Our details in our game need to be a hell of a lot better if we're going to take this team out.”
Tampa Bay got better as the game went on scoring a pair of second-period goals 48 seconds apart before giving up the game-winner two minutes into overtime.
“I think for us it’s just got to be more of a sixty-minute effort,” Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. “They’re going to have their flurries where they are going to be playing really well, where they’re offensive players are going to be dynamic. But it’s about not letting that lead into a couple shifts. Just one shift, one opportunity and we have to stop it there.”
With two days off between games one and two, Cooper said, ‘when you lose in overtime, you almost want to play the next day.’
The Bolts will have to wait until the puck drop on Saturday at 8 p.m.