Jon Cooper addressed the media after his team’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
On whether the team sat back too much at 4-1 up:
I don’t know. I didn’t think we were sitting back.
Their first one that they scored — we just got way out of our structure and gave up a rush we never should’ve given up.
In the end, we couldn’t kill a penalty. The next thing you know, it goes in, and all of a sudden, you’re down.
What is that cliche? Play not to lose? You can look at that now. Guys were trying. I think maybe it was a bit of a mindset of, “We will just close this one out.”
Obviously, Toronto had different ideas. Good for them. It is tough to come back on the road in a playoff game. They did.
Got to give them credit for it.
On whether he changed his lines to adjust to the Leafs‘ own changes:
It was all good. Listen, in the end, special teams became a factor in the game. They got two big power-play goals in the end. We didn’t cash in on our chance early in the third.
If you take one of those away or we get one, it is a different story. That was the difference.
On coming out empty-handed from two games where the Lightning carried a lot of the play and held leads:
It is tough. If you look at the big picture, we did a ton of good things. We scored enough goals to win.
In the end, you have to keep them out of your net. You can’t be giving up this number of goals. I don’t care if it is regular season or playoffs especially. If you are going to give up five goals, you don’t deserve to win the game.
If you put four on the board, that should be a win. We didn’t. In the end, you have to defend and keep the puck out of your net. We didn’t do it enough.
Credit to the Leafs.
On the number of goals against off of deflections that made it difficult on Andrei Vasilevskiy:
It is tough on any goalie. Your job as a defender is to get sticks. You have to give your goalie a chance to see the puck. On some of these, we haven’t.
Matthews’ power-play goal is a deflection, but that is just a world-class tip by him. They knew what they were doing. It is a little tough to navigate your way through that when you are shorthanded.
It seems like some of those are stinging us. We have to be better with that for sure.
On the feeling in the room after the collapse and the focus for Game 5:
I don’t know about talking about what we have to focus on, but I think we have to look at the big picture here and say, “We are still coming to the rink.” Season is not done yet.