Cooper ready for Lightning matchup with dad’s favourite team, Maple Leafs

TORONTO — Jon Cooper would possibly perchance moreover merely luxuriate in grown up in Prince George, British Columbia, but while his place of birth is extra than 2,500 miles from Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning coach is acquainted with the ardour of Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

“My dad grew up being a important Leafs fan,” Cooper acknowledged on Sunday after be aware. “I had to query him final night who he became once cheering for in the series. Fortuitously he had the gorgeous resolution.”

The Lightning face the Maple Leafs in Sport 1 of the Eastern Conference First Spherical at Scotiabank Arena on Monday (7: 30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVAS, SN, BSSUN). Cooper acknowledged he is having a stay up for the alternative to educate against his dad’s favourite team.

“It’s a little bit of of hideous that we now luxuriate in got no longer met, no longer in my tenure here,” Cooper acknowledged. “We now luxuriate in met other teams in our division quite a bit of times, and here is a first for us. Presumably a in point of fact long time coming, two the same teams which had been near the pause of the standings for a assortment of years now. I train or no longer it’s true for hockey, I train here is 2 established franchises which had been at the pause of their sport for a decade now or so and or no longer it’s about time we met in the playoffs.”

[RELATED: Complete Maple Leafs vs. Lightning series coverage]

While the Lightning embark on a quest to alter into the important NHL franchise to steal three consecutive Stanley Cup championships since the Recent York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83, the Maple Leafs are no longer easiest procuring for his or her first Stanley Cup championship in 55 years, but their first playoff series steal since 2004. 

“There’s without a doubt guys are responsive to it,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe acknowledged. “We now had been by quite a bit here, guys had been by quite a bit even earlier than my time. But, the level of interest is merely on this team and this alternative that we now luxuriate in came. We now had been by quite a bit to fetch by 82 video games, you journey rather heaps of heaps of things. Your team and the americans fetch tested quite a bit by the 82 video games, so when I honest focal level on this team, this team is taking into account what is forward. 

“We know the downside is huge but that honest makes the alternative elevated.”

The Maple Leafs established unusual team files for wins (54) and good points (115) all the draw in which by the 2021-22 season. Their reward is a matchup with the two-time defending champion Lightning, who won eight of their closing 11 traditional-season video games, along side an 8-1 steal against Toronto on Apr. 21.

Keefe acknowledged he would no longer favor it any wrong draw.

“For these that are going to push by the obstacle that we now luxuriate in got to fetch by here that that it’s in all probability you’ll moreover as smartly open with the most simple,” Keefe acknowledged. “These are the champs. Anytime we now had been challenged as a hockey team this season, we now luxuriate in spoke back in actuality smartly. So, I train that we now luxuriate in got huge admire for Tampa Bay, [and] there isn’t any longer any arguing it, debating it, they’re the class of the League at this level. They’ve proven that, they’ve earned that, but there would possibly perchance be without a doubt our team will be ready for them.”

Cooper became once rather nostalgic after the Lightning held be aware at Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto. It is the equal arena during which he, along with Lightning forwards Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat, won the 2012 Calder Cup with Norfolk, then section of the American Hockey League, against the Toronto Marlies.

“I admire being here,” Cooper acknowledged.

On Monday, he acknowledged he’ll like being in the attend of the Lightning bench at Scotiabank Arena going by the Maple Leafs even extra.

“To play teams esteem that, Normal Six, there would possibly perchance be honest something interested by it in this kind of particular draw,” Cooper acknowledged. “Increasing up staring at from Wendel Clark to Daryl Sittler to (now) Auston Matthews. It’s a metropolis that is proud of their hockey, fervent about their hockey, perchance virtually over the pause but whenever you are on this sport, instructing at the very most attention-grabbing stage, there isn’t any longer any better standing to play in the jam that each person cares the most and that’s causes why or no longer it’s huge to play Toronto.”

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