The Tampa Bay Lightning have enough experience not to panic after a bad night and they are confident to come back strong in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers , Friday.
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The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions offered a pale imitation of their usual performances on Wednesday. Dominated 6-2, they were overtaken by the trio of young Blueshirts, made up of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy had a tough game, giving up six times on 34 shots.
Except that the “Bolts” have seen others. The Toronto Maple Leafs are well placed to attest to that. In the initial part of the first-round series, they had beaten the Lightning by virtue of a 5-0 victory, which did not prevent the Florida club from eventually eliminating them in seven games. Consequently, in the locker room of the champions, everyone remains calm.
"You never want to lose twice in a row," defenseman Victor Hedman told NHL.com. So, for us, coming back in force will be essential. We will still be abroad, but it will remain big. We are a mentally strong group and we will bounce back.”
The story is pretty much the same on the side of captain Steven Stamkos, who expects much better from his teammates.
"It was definitely not our best game," he admitted. Rangers are a club with very good players and if you give them opportunities they will take advantage of them. I don't care what the situation is. There were opportunities for us to better read the games and perform them. This was not the case this time around.”
A great sequence
The good news for the Lightning is that they have won their last 17 games following a playoff loss, a streak that began early in the 2020 postseason. once the action has started on the ice. According to head coach Jon Cooper, it will first take better execution, pure and simple.
"As the game went on we were more tired because we hadn't played for a while, but that's not excusable," he said. I give all the credit to Rangers and we will try to make some adjustments in order to be back in two nights.
And no question of blaming his man of confidence in front of the net.
"It's not his fault at all," Cooper said. Given the quality scoring opportunities we gave, the puck would surely have entered the net if we had placed the two goaltenders in front of the net.