Lightning’s only focus is a Game 5 win to keep three-peat Cup hopes alive

DENVER — They are saying the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win. Nicely, it is also the toughest trophy to lose. If you’ve invested a lot bodily, mentally and emotionally for greater than two months through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you do not need it to be for nothing.

Now think about the Tampa Bay Lightning coming into Sport 5 of the Stanley Cup Remaining at Ball Area on Friday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS), trailing the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 within the best-selling collection. of seven, on the verge of elimination.

Your funding spans three seasons. They don’t seem to be simply chasing the Cup. As coach Jon Cooper has stated, they’re chasing greatness, making an attempt to turn into the primary crew to win the Cup three years in a row for the reason that New York Islanders received it 4 straight seasons from 1980-83.

It is onerous sufficient to win the Cup as soon as. You by no means know what number of alternatives you are going to get, particularly in an period with the wage cap and parity. What number of possibilities will the Lightning should go for this?

“We have now to go win a recreation,” the Tampa Bay ahead stated. garnet pat, who’s going for 4 straight championships, having received the Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 earlier than signing with the Lightning. “Proper now, our focus is on Sport 5, and now we have to win. I imply, there’s actually nothing we will do.”

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Let’s face it: the percentages are stacked in opposition to Lightning. Groups that lose 3-1 within the best-of-7 Cup remaining collection are 1-35. The one crew to win was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who got here again from 3-0 in opposition to the Detroit Purple Wings.

The Lightnings are hit. They’ve been outmatched by Avalanche’s pace and particular groups. Too usually they have been surviving moderately than thriving, spending time of their zone, clogging up lanes, blocking pictures, flipping the puck, and seeing the Avalanche come at them once more.

Colorado’s 3-2 additional time win in Sport 4 at Amalie Area on Wednesday was controversial as a result of Tampa Bay felt central nazem kadriThe purpose should not have counted as a result of there have been too many males on the ice. However the Lightning had been outscored 10-3 in additional time.

“You’ll be able to’t pout about it,” Cooper stated. “You flip the web page, you progress on, and, like, come on. In order that mountain is a bit of greater. Nicely, at the least we’re nonetheless climbing. We’re not out.”

If the Lightning had been going to show round, they may have executed so in opposition to the Toronto Maple Leafs within the first spherical of the Japanese Convention. They had been down 3-2 within the collection and 3-2 within the third interval of Sport 6.

It would not have been a disgrace to lose to the Maple Leafs, who had the fourth-best document within the NHL through the common season. They might have smoked cigarettes by the pool and had a pleasant lengthy summer season, understanding they’d turn into solely the second crew within the salary-cap period to win back-to-back titles after the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins.

However they got here again and received the collection in seven video games. Within the second spherical they swept the Florida Panthers, who received the Presidents Trophy as one of the best common season crew within the NHL. They then got here again from a 2-0 deficit within the Japanese Convention finals, and from 2-0 down within the second interval of Sport 3, to defeat the New York Rangers in six video games.

After going by way of all that, are they going to show round now?

Cooper talked about the Toronto collection on the Tampa airport earlier than flying to Denver on Thursday.

“What the hell is the distinction?” he stated. “We nonetheless should go on tour and win a hockey recreation. We had been going to should win an away recreation anyway. We did not have ice at house. So why not tomorrow?”

The distinction, the explanation not, is Avalanche, after all. They’ve been one of the best crew, they’re 3-1 in shut video games and 7-2 at house.

However once you’ve received 11 straight collection just like the Lightning have, you suppose that means. You need to suppose that means on this state of affairs.

If Lightning wins Sport 5, regardless of how they do it, issues are going to get attention-grabbing once more. They will be house for Sport 6. The Avalanche will really feel the strain to keep away from an anything-can-happen Sport 7; Lightning will really feel the chance so as to add one other layer to his legend.

“We’re nonetheless on it,” Maroon stated. “Clearly it is a onerous defeat [in Game 4], however the good factor is that we nonetheless play hockey. now we have not misplaced [the series] even. He’s the primary to get 4 wins in the meanwhile, and now we have a little bit of a problem in entrance of us. But when there’s a crew that may do it, it’s this crew.”

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