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Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper Plays Psychological Games with Toronto Maple Leafs

In Game 1 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the worst-case scenario.

Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll both struggled, allowing seven goals on 34 shots, with Samsonov being replaced in the third period.

On Tuesday, the Lightning were simply the better team, but head coach Jon Cooper isn’t taking that for granted.

In his postgame press conference following Game 1, the Bolts’ bench boss discussed the Maple Leafs and how they could win the series, remarks that could only be Cooper playing mind games with Toronto ahead of Game 2 on Thursday night.

“The Leafs might win the series. They might. There’s so much runway left in this, but what I’ve learned over the years is I sure as hell wouldn’t bet against our guys.”

Cooper has a point, despite his ability to get under the skin of the Maple Leafs and their fans during the first-round series. The playoff series are best-of-seven for a reason.

And, almost in response to Cooper’s comments, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe had an answer for where the series might go:

“It’s the nature of a playoff series,” said the head coach.
“It is up to us to respond.”

And that response will begin with Game 2 of this series on Thursday in Toronto.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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