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Lightning's Cooper not interested in playing a Game 7

by Corey Long /

BRANDON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper does not want to answer questions about another Game 7 until he has to.

The Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens is heading to Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports); the Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

"Right now there's no Game 7 in our plans," Cooper said. "We want to knock this team out in Game 6 at home."

Game 7 would be Thursday at Bell Centre.

The Lightning will have a healthy group in their Game 6 attempt. Forwards Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle sat out practice for what Cooper said was a maintenance day. They will be available to play Tuesday.

Cooper said he noticed a change in the Lightning's attitude after a 2-1 loss in Game 5 on Saturday. That attitude carried over to practice Monday when defenseman Braydon Coburn laid into a slap shot near the end of the session and shattered the glass at the Brandon Ice Forum.

"There were a lot of guys [angry] in that room after Game 5," Cooper said. "It was a big difference from Game 4 when they were a little secure and not as focused."

Forward Tyler Johnson said it's officially desperation time and agreed with Cooper's assessment.

"For whatever reason we haven't gotten angry until now. But it's time," Johnson said. "We have to have fire. Montreal has a lot of guys with that fire right now. Game 5 I thought we played a little bit better; it was something that we wanted."

The Lightning have struggled to score on Canadiens goalie Carey Price in the past three games and Cooper said it comes down to creating chances. He said he liked the chances the Lightning have created on Price but doesn't like the fact the chances haven't come in greater frequency.

Johnson said the key is getting more shots on net; the Lightning have been outshot in every game of the series.

"We have to play the way we have when we've been successful this season," Johnson said. "We have to use our skill and make things happen in the [offensive] zone because Price is one of the best in the world. Being on home ice is nice, but it's not like we start with a 1-0 lead because we're on home ice. We still have to play our game and do what we know how to do."

The thought of going back to Montreal is enough to give forward Alex Killorn a Game 7 mentality. He wants to adopt the Canadiens' attitude of playing with nothing to lose. He said he believes that's how the Lightning have gotten to this point after a grueling first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings when the Lightning had to rally from down 3-2 to win in seven games.

"We have to show that we have urgency [Tuesday]," Killorn said. "It's the mentality we should have had in Game 4 and Game 5. Because whenever you can close out a team you should do it. Just thinking about jumping back on a plane and going back to Montreal makes it easier to show more urgency in Game 6. None of us want to go back there."

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