Jon Cooper addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
On forfeiting a 2-0 lead but coming back from 3-2 down in the third:
It is nice to have 18 minutes to take a breath. It was a really unfortunate last minute. As I said this morning, it is the details of the game. They are hard to stay on top of for 60 minutes, but they are vital in the game. A couple of detail misses, and Toronto capitalized on them.
Really good timing for the break, and then we got our breaks. When a team goes down 5-on-3 in the third period, they have to earn their penalties. They earned them both. We took advantage.
On the dramatics of overtime:
It may not look at it all the time, but the heart rate gets elevated. To be honest, it is probably easier for me than everybody sitting in the stands behind me because you are so engaged in the game, who is up next, and matchups. You are coaching the game, is what you are doing. You don’t have a ton of time to hold your breath.
There were a couple of times both ways where your heart skips a beat, but it is an exciting time. I am into the game, so it is hard to get caught up in it.
On Brayden Point breaking through offensively in overtime:
They got rewarded for a ton of work. Pointer was not happy with the one goal Matthews scored. He missed his stick there.
Big players show up at big moments. Pointer was obviously the man tonight to finish it off for us like he has done so many times. Those guys were earning something like that to happen to them, and it did.
On the overtime winning goal:
It was a great play. We were kind of in the middle of a change. [Hagel] is fresh. I think Matthews blew a tire. It was a great play by Hags. He comes up with speed, but he still has to put that puck through somebody to get it to Killer. Instincts took over after that.
Great for Hags. He has had a great playoffs for us.
On the matchup battle throughout the series and now into Game 7:
Everybody is aware. Playoffs are a different beast. This has been a bit of a matchup series. We will have to figure something out when we go up for Game 7.
We are pretty comfortable with who is going out there. In the end, there were many times that other lines were caught out versus lines where you wanted matches. That is going to happen. It is going to happen a lot in Game 7.
We are not too worried if there is a mismatch, but if we can control what we can, we’ll do it. We’ll just have to see.
On Anthony Cirelli’s shorthanded goal:
These players that show up at the big moments… It is a heck of a play by him.
I have said it all series. It has come down to special teams. You look tonight, and we scored a five-on-five goal, a power-play goal, and a shorthanded goal. It has been the tale of the series for both teams, and we won that war tonight.
On his team staying out of the box in Game 6:
There you go again. The team that has taken the fewest number of penalties each game has won the game.
On his confidence in his team’s 5-on-3 power play to come through:
I have watched them do it a ton. You are not going to score every single time, but clearly, we needed it there. There are power plays during the year where you go, “Ah, we didn’t score, but we got momentum.” That was one we needed. Kuch delivered.