TAMPA, Fla. -- Jon Cooper isn't looking ahead by any means, but the Tampa Bay coach fully recognizes the opportunity to rest his team if the Lightning can close out their opening-round series with the New Jersey Devils by winning Game 5 on Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.
"If you have a chance to win a series, do it," Cooper explained Friday with his team staked to a 3-1 series lead after a 3-1 win on Wednesday night in Newark. "It's the travel, it's the wear. Just to get the mental and physical rest, to sit around and hope all the other series go deep. If you have this opportunity, you hope to take advantage of it."
The Lightning have looked like the Eastern Conference's top seed in building a 3-1 lead against the Devils, who had won all three regular-season meetings with Tampa Bay.
The Lightning have scored consistently -- 15 goals in four games -- and have shored up one key area of concern in their penalty-kill unit. It ranked among the league's worst in the regular season, but has been stellar of late, holding the Devils to 2 of 16 on power plays in the last three games. << Read more
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