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Verbeek: Managing adrenaline key for Lightning

by Staff

Tampa Bay Lightning assistant general manager Pat Verbeek joined NHL Live to discuss the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning trail the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 2-1 loss in Game 1 on Wednesday. Tampa Bay led 1-0 until Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored less than two minutes apart late in the third to lead Chicago to victory.

"It's a game we could have won, obviously," Verbeek said. "With six minutes left to go you're nursing a 1-0 lead. We had the chance, the [Ryan] Callahan breakaway, to kind of seal the deal. But we didn't and now we have to bounce back for this game.

"[Thursday] the guys took the day off. [Friday] we'll come back at it, hungry to go at it."

Game 2 is Saturday at Amalie Arena (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Managing your adrenaline for the full 60 minutes versus the first 30 minutes is going to be a big thing for us," Verbeek said. "If we can do that and play as long as we can at the highest level we can ??? I think we'll be in good shape."

Working under Lightning GM and former Detroit Red Wings teammate Steve Yzerman, Verbeek oversees the Lightning's professional scouting department. He has played a role in developing the Lightning into a Stanley Cup finalist, building around cornerstones Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman by selecting Nikita Kucherov (No. 58) and Ondrej Palat (No. 208) in the 2011 NHL Draft, and signing undrafted free agent Tyler Johnson.

Verbeek credits Lightning director or amateur scouting Al Murray for suggesting Johnson.

"If some of our guys fell into a perfect scenario, Johnson was one of them," Verbeek said. "We didn't have a lot of depth in the organization and we were looking for part of what we want to build is skill, hockey sense and compete, and Johnson filled all of those. We didn't care about size. We just wanted the skill and the hockey sense and the compete. With today's game and with the rules are called and the game is played, he can certainly play that game."

Verbeek was also asked about rookie Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft who hasn't played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"He's extremely talented, great hockey sense and I think highly skilled," Verbeek said. "I think the coaching staff is looking for him to be more reliable defensively. When you get going this far in the playoffs it's tough if the coach can't rely on you."

Verbeek played 1,424 games in 20 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. He won the Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999.

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