TAMPA | We will never know, but one wonders what the effect on the Lightning and the crowd gathered at Amalie Arena would have been if Valeri Nichushkin's goal, finally overturned after a challenge from Jon Cooper, had to be granted. .
Could the two-time champions have had their legs cut off?
“I have enough confidence in this group to believe that we would have been able to bounce back . In fact, that's what we did after they scored the first goal, “said Victor Hedman.
The Lightning defender isn't entirely wrong when he talks about Gabriel Landeskog's first goal of the night. Except that the Avalanche would then have taken the lead 2 to 0.
Besides, it took little for Cooper not to dispute the sequence that led to Nichushkin's goal. The officials were about to put the puck back in play when the Lightning head coach came forward. “We are at the mercy of the covers we have on television. If we're missing the right angle, we can't make the decision,” Cooper explained.
Still, on the ice, at least, it seemed like it was clear.
“It was offside. We saw it immediately. Yes, it was small, but we saw it right away,” Hedman argued.
A questionable move
In the camp of the Avalanche, we did not really appreciate the delay between the goal of the Russian attacker and the call of the Lightning.
“It was long”, lamented Jared Bednar, once on the podium, after the meeting.
“The ref was about to take the face-off. It would have been nice if he did,” Landeskog said. You know, we've been in this situation before too. When you miss the right cover, you can't be sure. But, in the end, I believe the right decision was made.
In addition, with some five minutes left in the game, Nikita Kucherov left the game after being roughed up by Devon Toews.
Asked what he thought of the gesture of the Avalanche defenseman, Cooper tried to go with a nuanced answer.
“When you ask this kind of question, you know the answer. that you want to get. Everyone in the building knows the answer,” said the British Columbia native coach.
“Hockey is a contact game. On the other hand, the guys know what they are doing on the ice. Smart players know what they are doing with their stick. We’ve all seen it,” he added.
No matter. This victory for the Lightning saved him from being backed into the wall. Everyone in the local locker room understood what was at stake.
“We lost by two games, we knew we had to win this game. It wasn't an elimination match, but it was close. We needed everyone to stand up,” Hedman said.
That is precisely what happened, considering that 10 different players participated in the scoring.
< p>“We knew we had to bounce back. We needed a big game from everyone, mentioned Anthony Cirelli. We have pride. We all wanted to jump on the ice and do our jobs.
“We kept it simple, we didn't create a turnover, we didn't allow them to pick up speed in their transition game. In fact, we played in a simple way and sent the pucks behind their defenders, ”he explained.
A recipe that the Lightning will have to repeat on Wednesday night.