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Looking ahead to Game 5: Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper directs his team against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

TORONTO, Canada (WFLA) – “The fourth one is the hardest one to win.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to advance to the next round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday but, according to the team’s head coach, Jon Cooper, the game to end the series is the most difficult game.

The Lightning currently has the upper hand in the best of seven games series against the Columbus Blue Jackets leading three games to one game. Although they won the last two meetings, the players cannot underestimate the Blue Jackets. The team is scrappy and, at this point in the first round, they are desperate.

“You need to get four and we are only three-quarters of the way there,” said Cooper. “You just have to match the desperation of the other team and you know, when their season is in the balance, how they are going to come out. If we can match that desperation, it just helps.”

The Blue Jackets will undoubtedly try to force the Lightning to play their style of hockey and, if they succeed, the Lightning will have a tough task ahead of them.

“The key to that is closing the team out,” said Cooper. “The early part is just a luxury and it is going to be different here though. You close a team out and you are not taking the family out for a nice dinner. You know, we are back here together and, if we are fortunate enough to have this happen, how are we going to spend our time during that time? I think, for sure, the rest and the recovery is a big part of it no matter what. Game one has affected both teams so that would be a luxury but all I care about is closing the series out and we will deal with the after-effects after but that’s the big one for me.”

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