TRAIKOS: Maroon swears the Lightning are going to play higher in a do-or-die Recreation 5

“We’ve to go win a f—ing sport proper now,” he stated.

TAMPA, Fla. — Pat Maroon couldn’t assist himself.

When requested what the Tampa Bay Lightning must do heading right into a do-or-die Recreation 5 in opposition to the Colorado Avalanche, the 6-foot-3 energy ahead refused to mince his phrases.

You are reading: TRAIKOS: Maroon swears the Lightning are going to play higher in a do-or-die Recreation 5

“We’ve to go win a ­f—ing sport proper now,” he stated. “Sorry. We’ve to go win a sport. Proper now our focus is Recreation 5, and we’ve to go win. I imply, there’s nothing actually we will do.”

That’s all of the Lightning can do. And although historical past shouldn’t be on their facet — groups main 3-1 within the Stanley Cup last are 35-1, with the final one coming in 1942, when the Toronto Maple Leafs got here again after being down 3-0 to the Detroit Crimson Wings — this isn’t the primary time that the Lightning have discovered themselves left for useless.

They trailed 3-2 in a first-round sequence in opposition to the Leafs and have been down 2-0 in opposition to the New York Rangers within the East last. Nonetheless, the opening that the Lightning must dig for themselves is significantly bigger.

“You flip the web page transfer on and like let’s go,” stated Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. “In order that mountain’s somewhat bit increased. Properly not less than we’re nonetheless climbing. We’re not out, and hey (whether or not it’s) 3-1 (to Colorado), or 3-2 to Toronto. What the hell’s the distinction? We nonetheless must go on the street and win a hockey sport. We have been going to must win a sport on the street regardless. We didn’t have house ice. So why not tomorrow?

“We’ve a proud group, as a result of that’s why we’re in a 3rd straight last. And it takes greater than expertise alone to get the place we’re and do what this group of gamers has carried out. And satisfaction is a giant, huge a part of it. However pay attention, we’re nonetheless kicking. Our satisfaction will kick in once more, however like I stated this group is rather more than only a bunch of gifted hockey gamers.”

On the different finish, the Avalanche is a crew that has been in a position to shut out sequence fairly simply. They swept each the Predators and the Oilers, however wanted an additional sport to complete off the Blues after main 3-1.

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“I’ve appreciated the way in which we’ve closed sequence out,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar stated. “I feel the hardest one and the one which we needed to bounce again from in opposition to the Blues was an actual robust loss at house and we went over there of their constructing and performed very well. After which the opposite sequence in Edmonton we needed to come again from behind in Recreation 4 and we did a pleasant job of sticking with the hassle and enjoying to our identification. Actually the entire playoffs we’ve been making an attempt to do this. Some nights are higher than others. However I don’t see why we wouldn’t come out and attempt to play to our identification.”


A day later, the Avalanche continued to heap reward on heart-and-soul ahead Nazem Kadri, who returned from a damaged thumb and performed the time beyond regulation hero in Recreation 4.

Not that anybody was shocked.

Kadri, who has seven targets and 15 factors in 14 video games, has been a drive within the post-season, notably in a second-round win in opposition to St. Louis, the place he scored a hat-trick and led the crew with 4 targets in six video games.

“He’s simply been actually constant for us,” stated defenceman Cale Makar. “Clearly, he went down with the damage there and final night time I really feel like he performed his position nicely and was in a position to preserve his ft shifting for many of the sport. So you may’t ask for rather more than that from a man getting back from a few weeks off.”

Added ahead Darren Helm: “Yeah, he was nice final night time. He’s been nice each time he hits the ice, earlier than his damage or not. He brings a variety of power and he’s a big-time participant. He’s scored a variety of huge targets within the playoffs and clearly, final night time was the most important one.”


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If the Lightning goes to drive a Recreation 6, it could must do it whereas short-handed.

Defenceman Erik Cernak left through the second interval on Wednesday after blocking a shot from Nathan MacKinnon. However a much bigger loss may come if shutdown centre Anthony Cirelli — whose arm appeared to get clipped by teammate Alex Killorn’s skate — joins Brayden Level on the injured checklist.

“We’ll see this can be a fast turnaround and so I haven’t seen Tony. I’ll have an replace for you tomorrow although,” stated Cooper, who additionally didn’t have an replace on Level. “Once more yeah, let’s let’s circle again about that tomorrow.”

As for the defence, Cooper was happy with how they responded with out Cernak.

“They did nice, however that’s the half that hurts is while you lose a ‘D’ and a major participant in our crew as the sport is drawing on, simply the minutes are piling up, however our guys did nice. It’s like I stated, we have been one quick, let’s strive to not be one quick tomorrow night time.”


With 25 factors in these playoffs — together with eight assists within the Stanley Cup last — Mikko Rantanen is making a case for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

“I feel he’s enjoying to his strengths,” stated Bednar. “He’s been robust on the puck and enjoying with guys on his again and his head up and discovering teammates after they’re open and capturing the puck actual nicely … I like the combination of what he’s doing.”

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