NHL

'You've got to man up' – Lightning coach Cooper frustrated after 1-3 start to the season

By Sports Desk October 18, 2022

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper implored his players to "man up" after their 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday left them with only one win from their first four games.

The Lightning have made it to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, winning championships in 2020 and 2021 before falling to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 decider.

Against the Flyers, Tampa Bay led 2-0 in the second period after a quick double from Steven Stamkos, but they were unable to defend their lead. 

Scott Laughton snatched one goal back in the second term for the Flyers, before James van Riemsdyk and Noah Cates struck in the third for the comeback win.

Speaking to the media after the game, Cooper said it was inexcusable to fall apart the way his side did, and that it is easy to take for granted all the winning they have had in recent years.

"This is a stinger," he said. "We should never leave this game with zero points... probably should have left with two.

"This group should close that game out, and we didn't. That's probably a little bit of a concern. We probably take things for granted with this team, just for the past decade, what's gone on. 

"Early on in this first week and half, two weeks, it's not going the way we're used to it going. We have to fight through it, you've got to man up."

Flyers coach Jon Tortorella heaped praise on his 24-year-old goaltender Carter Hart, who saved 38 shots in the victory.

"Carter was outstanding," he said. "He kept us in it, and we found a way at the end. 

"We hope we're building a little bit of a mindset of resiliency. I think each time it happens that way and you succeed, it just builds it for you.

"We've done some good things in just finding ways to win the games at key times late in the game.

"They're showing me they're ugly, they're showing me it doesn't matter, and they still have a little bit left in the tank to get things done."

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