- Craig Custance
DETROIT -- When Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper gathered his team on Sunday for an extended team meeting, he articulated exactly what he didn’t like about its performance so far during the series. They were chasing too much. They weren’t playing the brand of hockey with the speed and fight that earned them 50 wins during the regular season.
With his team facing elimination, he simply asked that if they were going to lose to the Detroit Red Wings and have their season ended in Detroit in Game 6, that they lose playing their style.
He asked for a little more determination, a little more fight to get through a veteran Red Wings team so adept at taking away every inch of space on the ice -- a serious problem for a Tampa team that relies on speed.
And when he was finished making these requests, he didn’t really know if his team would follow through.
In forcing a Game 7, the Lightning have an opportunity to skip the painful steps that many young teams endure. Craig Custance explains how they do it.