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

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

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

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

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

That’s all of the Lightning can do. And although historical past just isn’t on their facet — groups main 3-1 within the Stanley Cup ultimate 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 Pink Wings — this isn’t the primary time that the Lightning have discovered themselves left for useless.

They trailed 3-2 in a first-round collection towards the Leafs and had been down 2-0 towards the New York Rangers within the East ultimate. Nonetheless, the opening that the Lightning should 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 larger. Effectively at the least 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 should go on the highway and win a hockey recreation. We had been going to should win a recreation on the highway regardless. We didn’t have house ice. So why not tomorrow?

“We’ve got a proud group, as a result of that’s why we’re in a 3rd straight ultimate. And it takes greater than expertise alone to get the place we’re and do what this group of gamers has completed. And delight is a giant, massive a part of it. However hear, we’re nonetheless kicking. Our delight will kick in once more, however like I stated this group is way more than only a bunch of gifted hockey gamers.”

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

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“I’ve favored the best way we’ve closed collection out,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar stated. “I feel the hardest one and the one which we needed to bounce again from towards the Blues was an actual robust loss at house and we went over there of their constructing and performed rather well. After which the opposite collection in Edmonton we needed to come again from behind in Recreation 4 and we did a pleasant job of sticking with the trouble and taking part in to our identification. Actually the entire playoffs we’ve been attempting 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, significantly in a second-round win towards St. Louis, the place he scored a hat-trick and led the group 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 effectively and was in a position to maintain his ft transferring for a lot of the recreation. So you’ll be able to’t ask for way 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 plenty of vitality and he’s a big-time participant. He’s scored plenty of massive 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 should do it whereas short-handed.

Defenceman Erik Cernak left in the course of the second interval on Wednesday after blocking a shot from Nathan MacKinnon. However an even bigger loss might 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 if you lose a ‘D’ and a big participant in our group as the sport is drawing on, simply the minutes are piling up, however our guys did nice. It’s like I stated, we had been one brief, let’s strive to not be one brief tomorrow night time.”


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

“I feel he’s taking part in to his strengths,” stated Bednar. “He’s been sturdy on the puck and taking part in with guys on his again and his head up and discovering teammates after they’re open and taking pictures the puck actual effectively … I like the combination of what he’s doing.”

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