Jon Cooper’s Challenge: A pivotal moment

TAMPA | We’ll never know, but one wonders what effect it would have had on the Lightning and the crowd gathered at the Amalie Arena if Valeri Nichushkin’s goal, finally knocked down after a Jon Cooper tackle, should have been allowed. .

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Is it possible that the legs of the double champions were cut off?

“I have enough confidence in this group to believe we could have recovered. Also, we did that after they scored the first goal,” said Victor Hedman.

The Lightning defender is not entirely wrong when he talks about Gabriel Landeskog’s first goal of the evening. Except that the Avalanche would then have taken a 2-0 lead.

Additionally, it took Cooper little not to contest the sequence that led to Nichushkin’s goal. The officials were about to get the puck back in play when Lightning’s head coach stepped forward. “We are at the mercy of the covers we have on TV. If we don’t have the right angle, we can’t make the decision,” Cooper explained.

Still, it seemed clear, at least on the ice.

“It was an offside. We saw it straight away. Yes, it was small, but we saw it right away,” Hedman said.

A dubious move

In the avalanche camp, we didn’t really appreciate the delay between the Russian striker’s goal and the call of the Blitz.

“It took a long time,” lamented Jared Bednar, who once stood on the podium, after the meeting.

“The referee was about to do the face-off. It would have been nice if he had done it,” said Landeskog. You know, we’ve been in this situation before. If you miss the right coverage, you can’t be sure. But in the end I believe the right decision was made. »

Elsewhere, with about five minutes remaining, Nikita Kucherov left the game after being bullied by Devon Toews.

When asked what he thought of the Avalanche defender’s gesture, Cooper tried to come up with a nuanced response.

“If you ask that kind of question, you know the answer you want to get. Everyone in the building knows the answer,” said the British Columbia-born coach first.

“Hockey is a contact game. On the other hand, the guys know what they’re doing on the ice. Smart players know what they are doing with their racquet. We all saw it,” he added.

Everyone’s contribution

Doesn’t matter. That Lightning win saved him from being backed against the wall. Everyone in the local dressing room understood what was at stake.

“We lost by two games, we knew we had to win this game. It wasn’t an elimination game, but it was close. We all had to stand up,” Hedman said.

This is exactly what happened considering 10 different players took part in the scoring.

“We knew we had to recover. We needed a big game from everyone, said Anthony Cirelli. We have pride. We all wanted to jump on the ice and do our jobs. »

“We kept it simple, we didn’t create a turnaround, we didn’t allow them to gain momentum in their switching game. In fact, we just played and sent the pucks behind their defenders,” he explained.

A recipe that the Lightning has to repeat on Wednesday evening.

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