The Tampa Bay Lightning’s temper remains unchanged heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Islanders at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“I like the confidence in our room and often times you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if we won or lost,” Cooper said on Saturday. “These guys know the job at hand, and they know it’s not the best 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5. They know what’s in store for them, and I like it because you can’t ride them. emotions, ups and downs. You want, and sometimes you really want to profit from these wins.
“But we have a goal and we’re getting a little closer to it, but we’re not quite there, and just learning from this last game. ”
[ENRELATION:[RELATED:[ENRELATION:[RELATED:Full coverage of the Lightning vs. Islanders]
This approach has served the Lightning well. They have won six straight wins before Friday and have yet to lose any straight games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay has lost a game in each of its previous series to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins.
The Lightning has at least one reinforcement coming up Alex Killorn returning after being suspended for Game 3 for bringing Islanders forward Brock Nelson in game 2. But center Brayden PointHis status remains unknown after he was unfit to play in Game 3.
Cooper spoke to the media before the Lightning trained on Saturday and did not provide an update on Point, who left in the second half of Game 2 on Wednesday with a possible injury. A video later provided by the NHL showed Point participating in practice.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz has said he expects center Casey Cizikas be a game time decision on Sunday after he was unfit to play in Game 3. As part of the NHL’s return-to-play plan, a team is not allowed to disclose information about injury or illness of a player.
Video: Falling Lightning in Game 3 to the Islanders
New York’s belief that he can return to the series grew after pulling out the win on Friday, with Nelson breaking a 3-3 draw with 3:25 left in the third period. The Islanders also thought they played well in Game 2, which was tied up to the Lightning forward. Nikita Kucherov scored the winning goal with nine seconds left.
“I think in the second game we played a really good game. We played the way we wanted, ”said the New York defender Ryan Pulock said. “But we just have to keep building here. It’s a long series. Getting this win yesterday was huge. The fourth game will also be very important, so we have to keep preparing for tomorrow. ”
The Islanders also understand the importance of quickly switching to each other after every game, win or lose. They have some areas of their game to clean up after blowing up a 3-1 lead in the third period before rebounding to win on Friday.
“I think the second game gave us the confidence that we could win the third game,” Trotz said. ” Now you [gotten] in a series bondage game. It’s going to give us a little boost, but at the same time Tampa Bay has been there before, they’ve been to the conference finals a few times. They also have a team of veterans.
“They probably get Killorn for sure, and maybe Point.” We’re going to have their best game tomorrow, and we have to have our best game. ”
The Lightning lost focus for a stretch in the second period of Game 3, when the Islanders scored twice and made mistakes in the defensive zone that led to three goals against. So they know that’s an area where they need to be better.
They also know what a victory would mean. The teams taking a 3-1 lead are 288-29 (90.9 percent) winning an NHL best-of-7 playoff series, including 10-0 in the playoffs. Since the conference format was adopted for the 1981-82 season, teams with a 3-1 lead in the conference finals are 34-1 (97.1 percent). The New Jersey Devils rallied to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals and then won the Stanley Cup.
“I just think we’re getting into the mentality of playing every game like it’s a tie-breaker,” the Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon said. “So we have to find ways to keep playing the way we do. We have a good group in there, we have a good team that knows how to bounce back from a loss.… We’re going to get a very good Islanders team. They are not backing down, so we have to find ways to bring our best game tomorrow. “