John Cooper, Columbus, Vasilevsky discussed on ESPN Daily
Mean, the core of this team has been kept together, and they are unflappable. It all tracks back to a series the lightning played in 2019. Against the Columbus blue jackets. If you remember that series, the lightning were an unstoppable force in the regular season. They had one of the best regular seasons of all time, like a 128 points in the standings. Then they played the blue jackets in the first round. They were the heaviest of heavy favorites, and they got swept. This one is over. Congratulations to the blue jackets. They sweep the lightning into their first ever series win. And lightning on a record breaking regular season, but go out and force street. In the playoffs. Shocking. Absolutely shocking to me. They got embarrassed. That has been the pivot point for John Cooper, the coach of this team, and the veterans on this team to understand fundamentally that they weren't playing the right way to win in the playoffs. It changed the way they approach defense, it changed the way they approach protecting the puck. It changed the way they approached their opponents. And all of that psychological learning has informed the next three seasons of postseason dominance. You have Cooper behind the bench. You have captain Steven stamkos, who is an absolute star in this league and one of the best goal scorers of his generation. Some might save and the second best goal scorer behind Ovechkin. Over the last 15 years, vasilevsky and goal, the key to kuchar off my God, a brilliant offensive player, not only the way he scores goals, but more importantly in the way that he creates them. Andre palat, who is your classic glue guy. He's always there making place and then all of a sudden you look and he has two game winning goals against the rangers in the third period to prevent overtime. Henman slot shot score. Andre Pelant makes it three to two Tampa Bay. With 41.6 to go. Defenseman Victor had been who is now on a run of Norris trophy nominations for the NHL's best defenseman and a probable Hall of Famer at the end of his career. And then you've got guys like Alex calore and pat maroon that have been there forever, making plays.