Jon Cooper: Lightning focused on bigger picture after Game 1 loss

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper says his team is focused on the bigger challenge of winning a seven-game series to lift the Stanley Cup rather than dwelling on stumbling out of the gate in Game 1.

Video Transcript

JON COOPER: It's tough talking to the guys after an overtime loss. You can talk to them as a group. But individually, I haven't seen the guys yet. But, again, it's not, per se, we're gonna put Brayden Point. It's what's best for our team. And, usually, when he's up in the lineup, that's good for us. But for him to be put in a place he was always-- I mean, I think he played 18 minutes last night. That's probably a little more than I thought he might. But he handled it pretty well. And to get-- he's getting his game, his hands in order. I can expect him to get more ice time, if he's feeling better. When you lose a game in overtime, at times, you almost want to play the next night.

But because we haven't played this team in a while, now we've got a game under our belt for the coaches to kind of tackle it, see if there is adjustments we can make. So, for us, it's a good thing. The tough part for us is we came two days early, and now we've got another two days. So we're basically-- it's going to be a six or seven-day trip just to play two games. But that's what happens when you're the row team. Can't complain, we should've got more points during the regular season. But it'll be good for us to digest this game and not have such a quick turnaround after not seeing these guys for a while.

It's about winning the series, it's not about winning game one. And, yeah, we'd like to win every single game, there's no question. But we've also started on the road for all four series. So the fact that we've won one of them is kind of a bonus on our side. But it's about winning the series. Yeah, it sucks we lost game one. But let's turn the page here and let's see if we can get game two. But it's about the series.

When we're not turning the puck over, that's a positive, I think. There's some things in our breakouts we could tidy up. There's definitely some things in the offensive zone we could tidy up. But I liked some of our approach, especially in the second period, we pushed a little bit, when we had a chance to sit here and fold. And I just like the resiliency of the group. I know that's a overly-used word. But to go down 2-0 early and then have a really, really tough call go against us to put us down 5 on 3, those are kind of those put-your-head-in-the-sand moments. But our guys, instead of doing that like they've always done, they bounced back. And it's unfortunate we didn't pull it out, but there's some good stuff to be found in that game.

When I'm to the media, I'm speaking to the media. But I'm a pretty straight up guy. What I say in the room, I don't BS the guys. I had told them we had better in us. And they know they have better in us. I'm not just saying because every loss we've got better in us. We've played some good games and lost. And we have better in us when we've won. But we're pretty straightforward with our group. There's no trying to send messages in the media or anything like that. I'm not trying to hide who's in and out of the lineup.

This group have been through too much together. And the best policy is to be straight up with them. And everyone in that room agrees we could've have executed better. It wasn't an effort thing. It was an execution thing. And our details and our game need to be a hell of a lot better if we're gonna take this team out. But did they have that message before I hit the podium? Yes, they did.

It's not about riding the wave of one game. If this is the best two out of three, well, then maybe our emotions would be a little different. But it's the best of seven. And for us, we've been swept, we've swept teams, we've game six, five four, whatever it is. But it's kind of about getting our feet under us. It's understanding we're playing a different team. We can't win the series all in one game. And they've been really good at that. But that's taken some time for us to kind of fall into that mindset. But we've really developed that over the years. And hopefully, one more series, we can carry that through and take another step forward in game two.