1. Lightning

Jon Cooper's novel approach to home-ice advantage

The Lightning's season finale Sunday at Washington will determine whether Tampa Bay gets home-ice advantage in its first-round playoff series with the Canadiens.

For Lightning coach Jon Cooper, home ice is most important when it comes to hosting a Game 7.

But what if the team with the advantage was forced to play on the road in Game 7? That is what Cooper suggested in a novel approach to how a seven-game playoff series should be structured.

In Cooper's plan, the team with home ice -- that is with four of seven games on its ice -- would play Game 1 on the road, play Games 2, 3 and 4 at home, Game 5 on the road, Game 6 at home and Game 7 on the road.

In other words, the team with home ice would play four of the first six games at home.

"Now that's home ice to me," Cooper said. "I haven't done the research but I'm fairly certain more series are ended in Games 4, 5 and 6 than Game 7, so why would the home ice be in just the last game?"

As for perhaps giving the team without home ice the advantage of hosting a Game 7, Cooper said, "If they've scratched out to a seventh game under those odds, they should get home ice. Food for thought."