Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Cooper: Game 1 a bit nauseating (w/video)

NEW YORK — Coach Jon Cooper said sometimes he watches film of a previous game and realizes the Lightning played better than he thought.

But Cooper had the opposite impression after looking at the 2-1 Game 1 loss to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final.

"There's the times you think you played okay, and you watch the tape and you want to vomit," Cooper said Sunday. "And that was a little bit of how (Saturday) went. For two periods I thought we were a little better than we were until I watched the tape. The Rangers played extremely well, but we were stubbing our toe all night. So we were just handing them tickets to the movie, and we were a turnstile and watching them go by. We can't do that.

"We've got to be much better than we were. And I'm quite convinced we will."

D Anton Stralman said the Lightning was "night and day" worse than it was in its impressive performance in its clinching Game 6 win over the Canadiens in the semifinals. Stralman said it didn't manage the puck well, and its forecheck wasn't a factor.

"If you're going to go into zones and be one-and-done like we were (Saturday), we have no chance," Cooper said. "So we have to possess the puck more. It's been a big part of the reason why we're here, and if we're not going to do that, it's going to be a long night, short series."

LINING UP: C Brian Boyle, who missed Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury, did not practice Sunday, putting his status in question for tonight's Game 2. Cooper said Boyle remained day to day, and he didn't know if Boyle would play.

HOW DID CALLAHAN COME BACK SO FAST? How did RW Ryan Callahan recover quickly enough to play in Game 1 just five days after an emergency appendectomy? One reason, Lightning trainer Tommy Mulligan said, was his laparoscopic procedure, in which three or four small incisions are made; it is minimally invasive and does not cut through muscle, reducing recovery time "by weeks."

"There's nothing structurally that was involved," Mulligan said. "It worked out well for him."

Callahan, who had the procedure a week ago today, is not pain-free, Mulligan said, and "any physical activity you're going to do like that is going to put stress on him."

But Mulligan stressed that Callahan is not being given pain-numbing shots.

"It's not a secret about hockey players," Cooper said. "Surgeries have improved; the technology has improved, but you see the scars and bruising down there, you know he's in a lot of pain. I'm just glad he's on our team."

DANGER ZONE: C Cedric Paquette had a rough practice. First he took a shot off his right foot — the same foot that was hit earlier in the season — and skated slowly to the bench where, in pain, he slammed his stick on top of the boards. Next, teammate D Nikita Nesterov shoved him into G Ben Bishop and Bishop's stick jabbed Paquette painfully in the left ribs.

"You've got to watch yourself," Paquette said, adding playfully that practices are sometimes more dangerous than games. "Anything can happen like that. That's the playoffs, isn't it?"

Times correspondent Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

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