DENVER, Colo. — In the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s happened more often than not: the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves down 0-1 after Game 1.
Wednesday night, the Colorado Avalanche was the latest opponent to win the first contest against the Lightning in a best-of-seven series. The Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers also captured Game 1 in their series against the Bolts.
After the game, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper said the loss doesn’t feel great but is deserved.
“The right team won the game,” he said.
However, Cooper projected unwavering confidence in his squad as it prepares for Game 2.
According to Cooper, the Lightning showed some “positive signs” in the Game 1 loss.
“I don’t think, you know, by a country mile we gave them our best game, and we still had a chance to pull it out,” he said. “But, you know, to beat a talented team like that, we’re going to have to bring — we’ve got a better game in us.”
Despite the loss, he said the first contest allowed his team to learn about its opponent, a team the Lightning doesn’t meet as regularly as others.
“That’s what makes best-of-sevens great is because, you know, by the end the players know each other so well, and just the gamesmanship that happens,” he said.
In Game 1, the Avalanche — a fast, deep squad — got out to a fast start and carried a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. The Lightning tied the game during the second period. After a scoreless third period, the Avalanche scored a quick goal to win the contest in overtime.
After the game, Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos echoed Cooper’s comments: even though the game wasn’t his team’s best outing, it still competed until the end.
“This mindset is, you know, we’re here to win a series, and you don’t know when that’s going to come. You know, it could come in four games, five games, six, seven — you never know. Like I said, we’ve done a great job of making adjustments after losses, so we’ll look to do that,” Stamkos said. “Sometimes in the first game, you’ve got to feel it out a little bit and see what you’re up against. Obviously, we don’t see these guys a lot. I’m confident in our group’s ability to make some adjustments, and I know we’ll come out a lot better next game.”
Puck drop for Game 2 is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. at Ball Arena in Denver. It — and the rest of the series — will be broadcast on your ABC Action News station.