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Pre-Game Notebook: Coming Out With Jump

by Missy Zielinski / Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s no lie that the Tampa Bay Lightning have managed to weather the storm, earning two comeback victories over their past two games. They have also never held a lead thus far this season, yet the Bolts have found a way to come out with a win in two of those three contests.

“We’ve shown a lot of character on the road, coming back in third periods of games and finding ways to win,” Steven Stamkos said. “That’s what we’re doing right now, we’re finding ways, and maybe that’s been our Achilles heel in the past – finding ways to lose.”

Just making it to the extra period also means a point that the Bolts may have collected, had they not remained resilient.

Yet, according to head coach Jon Cooper, “there is a plus and a minus to that.”

Never counting themselves out and playing with guts is considered the plus, and for that there’s been nothing but praise in the locker room.

The minus - sooner or later they won’t be able to weather that storm anymore.

With Thursday’s tilt the first of seven straight games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Cooper and the rest of the team hopes they can come out of the gates and immediately put the offensive pressure on their intrastate rival the Florida Panthers.

“I would expect us to come out hard and take advantage of that first five or ten minutes,” Cooper said. “Just jump on a team. That’s what we are looking to do tonight.”

If the Lightning can do just that, there’s a possibility they will not have to play catch-up hockey for once.

“It would be nice to get into a game when we were actually winning going into the third,” Cooper continued.

“I think we know it is in here,” Martin St. Louis added. “That’s just a hard way to play if every time you have to comeback. We just have to make sure we beat teams earlier in games then always trying to play catch-up hockey because that is a tough way to play.”


Being his first full season in the NHL, Cooper is continuing to learn with each game he is behind the bench coaching. Today he made a note on one thing he has begun to notice, the League’s parity.

“What I’m finding out in this league is that every game is hard,” Cooper said. “Although Buffalo was 0-3 when we played them, we were down a goal in that game with 10 minutes to go.”

Regardless if the Lightning beat two Stanley Cup Finalists or a winless team, “there are no layups, anybody can beat anybody.”


With Tom Pyatt likely out of the lineup until Thanksgiving, forward Richard Panik replaces him tonight on the Bolts’ second line. Cooper said Panik would have been back in the lineup sooner than later anyways, as he is more than deserving of a spot on the team.

Netminder Ben Bishop gets his third straight start in net tonight for the Lightning, while Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio serve as healthy scratches.

Cooper had a couple fun moments with the media Thursday, joking that it “must be the home opener” with the number of people awaiting his arrival at the press conference. He also got the room laughing when he pointed out that a member of the media always seemed to point out particular “not so pretty” stats to him.

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