TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper summarized Tuesday night’s game perfectly.
“It probably brings a little intrigue to the game.”
The 7:30 p.m. game inside Amalie Arena will feature the top two teams in the Eastern Conference and in the Atlantic Division – the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins have the best record and the most points in the league.
The Lightning trail the Bruins by seven points but they have played one less game.
However, despite the “intrigue” surrounding this game, Cooper said he feels both teams are simply getting into playoff shape.
“Both teams are looking to see where we are at,” he said. “We do have them twice here in the next week but, I think, if you asked their coach, he would be sitting here saying, ‘Hey, we are just trying to get our game in order just like Tampa is,’ and ‘We are trying to stay healthy just like Tampa is.’ We are in a different spot than we were last year. We were quite a bit ahead of everybody last year. This year, we are fighting our way to get into the playoffs.”
Cooper also said he is not going to allow himself to be consumed by the battle with the Bruins because these teams are not likely to meet in the first round of the playoffs.
“It would be hard for us to play each other in the first round so there are always good games with Boston. The intensity is always high but I think both teams are trying to get their games in order. I think that that is first and foremost,” said Cooper.
Anthony Cirelli echoed those words.
“It is another game,” said the 22-year-old forward. “Obviously, they are in our division and we are both fighting for points here going down the stretch so we play them a lot, in the playoffs a couple years, so we know what to expect. I think it is just a fun game. These are the ones that are good to be a part of and, like I said, it is a good measuring stick game for us and we are really excited and looking forward to it.”
LATEST LIGHTNING NEWS:
- Goalies get shuffled in NHL free agency; Lightning quickly depleted
- Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign forwards Mitchell Stephens, Gemel Smith
- Steven Stamkos expected to be ready for next season, Lightning GM says
- ‘You guys gave us something to celebrate’: Lightning’s Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman on Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Lightning GM confirms team will look different next season due to flat salary cap