TAMPA — The Lightning are hoping to close out the Stanley Cup final as quickly as possible.
Even if that means celebrating a second straight title away from home.
Up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series against the Canadiens, Tampa Bay can clinch as soon as Monday at Montreal’s Bell Centre. And you’d better believe that’s the team’s preference.
“That will never sneak into our locker room,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Sunday after it was suggested the team might rather win on home ice, should the series return to Tampa for Game 5.
Cooper said his team had two chances to knock out teams in five games last season (up 3-1 against the Islanders in the Eastern Conference final and the Stars in the Stanley Cup final) but was unable to capitalize.
“It’s a learning process to go through that,” he said. “By no means does that guarantee any results in what’s going to happen in (Monday’s) game, but I know our mindset is different going into these games, on these close-out games as they have in the past.”
With a win Monday, the Lightning would become just the second team to sweep the Canadiens in the Cup final after the Detroit Wings did so in 1952, winning on home ice. Only two teams have won the Cup on Montreal home ice: the New York Rangers (1928) and Calgary Flames (1989), both at the Forum.
“It’s about winning,” Cooper said. “It’s not about where you win, and that’s all we care about.”
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