TAMPA — The Lightning are two wins away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions. Tampa Bay gutted out a 3-1 win in Wednesday's contest to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Blake Coleman's diving goal with less than a second to go in the second period gave the Bolts a 2-1 lead and some much-needed momentum.
"Literally, in my head, I’m like 'Did he just do that again?'" Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said after the win. "The timing was... epic."
"I saw [Barclay Goodrow] make that heads-up play in the neutral zone," Coleman said. "The little poke past their D. Incredible area pass from him and fortunately we beat the clock."
Montreal out-shot the Lightning 43-23, and the Bolts said they were outworked for much of the first two periods. They say they aren't happy with playing average hockey in the Stanley Cup Final.
"They were all over us for most of the game. I just think as a whole we all have to be better," Center Anthony Cirelli said Thursday. "I think you just gotta go in focusing on the one game, and that’s game three. We gotta go out there and put ourselves in the best position to try and win the game."
Cooper said it's hard to play perfect hockey every night, but it's all part of the grind to see who can get to four wins first.
"There are nights that you’re going to be off. Pucks aren’t going to go your way," he said Thursday. "It’s how you adapt to that or how you fight through that. Some guys were fighting it a little bit. They found different ways to contribute. That’s what we needed for the win, and we got it."
Of the last 11 teams to grab a 2-0 in the Final, nine have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. Game three from the Bell Center in Montreal is set for Friday night at 8 P.M.
There will be a capacity limit of 3,500 due to ongoing health and safety protocols.