Lightning Find Themselves in Familiar Position vs. Avs, But This Feels Different

Jon Cooper talked about how important it is for a team to execute a game plan Saturday afternoon and his role once the game begins.

“The coaches’ job is to put the game plan together. It’s the players’ job to go execute it, and they’re the ones that are in the trenches,” Cooper said ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. “I always make the joke I just stand there, and I watch these players go perform. But you have to have a group that’s going to do it, willing to commit to doing the things that need to be done.”

His group didn’t do it. But Jared Bednar’s did.

“I don’t know about the perfect plan, but it certainly was as close to perfect as a game you can get from your players,” the Colorado Avalanche coach said.

After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, some fans were expecting a seven-game series. The Colorado Avalanche blew a lead while the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions reminded everyone of their ability to make a push within the game.

But that ability was suddenly lost in Game 2 on Saturday night at Ball Arena. The Bolts had no answer for the Avs in a 7-0 rout, and they now leave Colorado down 2-0 in the series.

Tampa Bay was down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final but went on to win four straight, so this is not unfamiliar territory. Even if the Lightning couldn’t push back in one game, this team has consistently shown that it can turn the tide of a series quickly.

But this time it feels a little different. Colorado is a far superior team to the Rangers, and even Cooper himself was surprised at his group’s sudden inability to capitalize on one of its longtime strengths.

“The game got away from us early, and we have shown a propensity to push back for years,” he said. “Tonight, we didn’t. If this becomes a common theme in this series, it will probably be a short one. I never doubt the guys in the room. Does it suck losing a game like that? For sure. We’re not used to it. It doesn’t really happen to us. But is it going to happen at times? Yeah, it is.

Author: Lucy Green