SportsQuest for the Cup


Lightning 'pretty confident' ahead of must-win Game 5

The Lightning must win all three remaining games to keep their three-peat dreams alive.
Stanley Cup Avalanche Lightning Hockey
Posted at 8:24 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 13:02:45-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Winning all three remaining Stanley Cup Final games is a tall, overwhelming task. But the Tampa Bay Lightning say if there’s a team to do it, it’s them.

All three are must-wins for the Lightning, which trail the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 in the best of seven series.

Friday night, the Avs will look to dash the Bolts’ three-peat dreams by ending the series and hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time since 2001.

The Bolts, however, believe they can go into hostile territory Friday and get a win in Denver, though they’ve yet to do so in the series or preceding regular season.

Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper likened his team’s current predicament to the 3-2 deficit it faced in the first round to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“So that mountain’s a little bit higher?” he said Thursday before flying to Denver. “At least we’re still climbing. We’re not out.”

Lightning left wing Pat Maroon echoed Cooper’s attitude in different terms.

“We have to go win a f****** game right now,” he said. “Sorry for my language. But yeah, we just have to win a game.”

So far, the Avs have proven a tough, deep foe. After the Lightning won convincingly in Game 3 — answering the Avs’ mostly dominant wins in Games 1 and 2 — they lost a heartbreaking Game 4 in overtime to a goal Cooper believes wasn’t legal because of a “Too Many Men on the Ice” penalty that was missed by officials.

After a short, emotional news conference minutes after Game 4, Cooper apologized Thursday and characterized the missed call as “water on the bridge” as his team makes adjustments and prepares for Game 5.

“It’s a tough loss, but the good thing is we’re still playing hockey, and we haven’t lost yet, so it’s the first one to get to four wins right now, and we’ve got a little challenge in front of us, but if there’s one team that can do it, it’s this team,” said Maroon. “So, I think we feel pretty confident.”

The game is set to begin at 8 p.m. Friday.