No active NHL coach has spent less time leading his bench than Luke Richardson.
And the first round went to the most experienced bench leader.
Ice cream at home helps.
With the advantage of the final change, keeping Brayden Point’s lethal top line away from stopping master Philipp Danault and his wingers was a simple stroke of genius from Cooper.
Not all coaches adopted the same tactics against one of the best defensive forwards in the game, and Danault helped calm Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty to get here.
And not all coaches benefit from Cooper’s forward depth.
Point & Co. feasted on young Montreal forwards Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tyler Toffoli, and each member of that line completed a dash-3.
“I like the way things were going for us so we stuck with that. Does that mean that we will continue to stick to it? Who knows? Cooper said.
Steven Stamkos added: “We have a game plan and we have a recipe. And if we do the right things, we think we will be rewarded. We’ve got so far to get to this point and I thought we made it into [Game 1]. When we’re at the top of our game like this, we’re a tough team to beat.
Olympic dreams postponed?
Hard to imagine, but Norris’ eternal contender Victor Hedman was ignored in 2014 and therefore did not win an Olympic silver medal with the Swedish team.
“The Olympics are one of my biggest dreams, and I haven’t been able to participate in just one,” Hedman said Tuesday. “And this might be the last chance I have. This is something that I have dreamed of all my life.
Young Hedman watched veterans Henrik Tallinder, Johnny Oduya and Jonathan Ericsson face off against Carey Price and Team Canada in 2014, the NHL’s last appearance at the Games.
On Monday, Commissioner Gary Bettman appeared less than optimistic that we will see a return to the true best over the best in 2022 in Beijing.
“It would be unfortunate if the players couldn’t go. I can only speak for the guys in the room, ”said Jon Cooper, declared Team Canada coach favorite.
“I know they really like going to the Olympics. I think there is something about the best over the best. There is something about being proud of the country you come from and carrying the flag.
Cooper flew to Vancouver in 2010 as a fan, only to see Sidney Crosby score the golden goal.
“I had a little taste of it in the World Cup. But it’s just… it wasn’t the Olympics. Even my participation in  world championships is amazing – the pride of teams, no matter what country you are from. And it was one of the coolest events I have ever attended. So I can’t even imagine how these players feel when they go to the Olympics, just to be surrounded by the best athletes of all sports, ”continued Cooper.
“So I could see how hard that would be for the guys to swallow. “
Tampa vs. Montreal turns into USA vs. Canada
At the start of Game 1 and the first appearance of a Canadian team in a Stanley Cup in 10 years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested a “friendly bet” with his southern leader.
President Joe Biden gladly accepted the betting favorite in an exchange on Twitter.
Details of the deal have yet to be worked out.
“We’re intrigued,” the Tampa Bay Lightning club’s account tweeted after the win. “What are your thoughts, Mr. President? “
Suggestion: How about betting on equitable health care to have the confidence to speak up in the classroom?
You’re on my mate. #GoBolts https://t.co/jOhA7IB2bE
– President Biden (@POTUS) June 29, 2021
More interesting than world leaders tossing dense bagels and fatty smoked meat at the conclusion of a sporting event is the response Trudeau’s tweet received from Francesca Vangel, wife of Tampa forward Pat Maroon.
“Friendly bet? What if you let the families of the players cross the [border] (both teams) and enjoy it this year. Just a thought, ”Vangel tweeted.
It’s a sore spot among close friends and family members of the players, who missed the Bubble Cup celebrations last summer due to the pandemic.
If the Lightning were to repeat themselves – and Maroon three times – in four or six games, the Tampa families could go 0-for-2 in attendance at life-changing times.
Friendly bet? What if you let the families of the players cross the border (both teams) and enjoy it this year. Just a thought. https://t.co/baBdbVALcw
– Francesca V (@FrancescaAnna) June 29, 2021
Dubious killorn for game 2
Alex Killorn’s nobility put him in danger of missing Game 2 on Wednesday.
The heart and soul striker fearlessly extended his leg and absorbed the full breath of a Jeff Petry slap shot in Game 1.
– Here is your replay (@TheReplayGuy) June 29, 2021
Killorn tested his foot for an entire shift in the third period, but missed the rest of the game and didn’t make the power play.
Officially listed as day-to-day, by coach Jon Cooper on Tuesday, Killorn’s availability is now in doubt.
Weber fined again
Montreal captain Shea Weber added to his bad reputation and took away from his wallet.
The defenseman was fined $ 5,000 for a sharp blow he gave to the back of Nikita Kucherov’s leg in the third period.
Weber was fined the same amount for cross-checking Toronto’s Wayne Simmonds in the first round.
Gallagher is gone
As expected, Montreal supreme agitator Brendan Gallagher took it and distributed it throughout Game 1.
But his grisly appearance after being thrown without a helmet into the ice during a scrum with Tampa’s Mikhail Sergachev has raised concerns about a potential concussion.
“He doesn’t look great. He looks like a roadmap right now, ”assistant coach Luke Richardson said on Tuesday.
Richardson has confirmed that despite blood and a goose egg, Gallagher will roll again.
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 29, 2021
Canadians must generate more attack
It usually goes without saying after a 5-1 loss, but it gets even more serious when defending Vézina champion Andrei Vasilevskiy is barely tested.
Montreal had all seven high-risk scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com, throughout the game – and four of them came in the third period, with Tampa already putting the game out of reach.
Too often the Canadians – a top team – lost speed in the neutral zone and attempted side passes. Too often, those passes were picked up and the pucks were spinning in the opposite direction for Lightning’s counterattacks.
The Habs were beaten at their own game, as were the Islanders at theirs.
In fact, the only goal Montreal scored was a low percentage shot from Ben Chiarot that required a double deflection from two Tampa players (Anthony Cirelli and Ryan McDonagh) to freak out past Vasilevskiy.
Too slow and too cute, Montreal must establish a front check and maintain a certain time zone if it hopes to escape Florida with a gap.
“It was probably our worst game of our last five games,” said Richardson. “We’re ready to bounce back in the next game.
Unique: Mikhail Sergachev on his transfer to Tampa for Jonathan Drouin in 2017: “It was great to be traded here. That’s all I’m going to say. … The Canadiens lost Game 1 of their last three Cup winning streaks: 1979, 1986 and 1993… In Game 1, Carey Price allowed five goals for the first time since April 3 against Ottawa. That was 21 apparitions ago.