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May 18, 2015

Jon Cooper


Tampa Bay – 6
New York - 2

Q.  So I'm guessing this is exactly how you drew this one up?
COACH COOPER:  Well, if winning a hockey game is what we drew up, I'll say that's how we drew it up.

Q.  Jon, you've basically said this morning you were expecting a big response.  How did you know?  What did you see?  What was the mindset that maybe was different from Game 1?
COACH COOPER:  Well, I think in Game 1, we participated in the hockey game, and in Game 2 we came to win a hockey game.  That was the difference.

Q.  I know last week you said you'd ran out of adjectives, we'd have to come up with some.  Well, we've run out, too.  What do you say about Tyler Johnson?
COACH COOPER:  Oh, Tyler Johnson, the bigger the game, the better he plays.  That's Tyler Johnson.  It's unreal to watch.  He put the team on his back, and we all followed.

Q.  What did the team do so well, so different?  What was so different about the way the team played and what was so different about the game plan tonight?
COACH COOPER:  Well, we went 11‑7, so I think, I don't know, a little bit of a different match‑up for them against us.  I really liked Nesterov's game.  I thought he brought jump to our game in the back end.
But let's be honest.  Our will and our determination were at a much higher level than it was in Game 1.  We were much more physical.  Where in Game 1 we played not to get touched, and tonight we were getting dirty.  I thought it just kind of changed the complexion for us.
But I've got to tip our hat to our penalty kill.  I know we bent a little bit and gave up some goals, but for us to take four minors in the first ten minutes, five‑on‑three for I think it was 1:21, and not only come out of that even, but to come up with the lead, I thought that was a huge momentum swing.  It gave us a lot of confidence, and we took off from there.  But it was ultimately our will that was different.

Q.  With the bigger the play and the bigger the performance, how tough is that for a player?  Give us some perspective.  How difficult it is to be that kind of guy?
COACH COOPER:  What do you mean?

Q.  For Tyler.
COACH COOPER:  I don't think that that's the thing.  I don't think it's difficult for him.  I think that's where he is.  I've said this before, you walk into that kid's house and you look at the trophy mantle and all you see is trophies of where this kid has won:  Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, World Juniors.  Winning follows that kid.  You're a special player for that to happen.
Tyler Johnson is not the only one this happens to, but to do it in the greatest league in the world on the biggest stage, in the world's most famous arena, it's pretty impressive.  It doesn't get any bigger than that.  I don't know.  I can't say enough.
He's one of 20 guys that takes the ice for us every night, but he is team first, will first.  It's incredible to watch.  Never lets you down.

Q.  In the play where he's lost his stick and out‑battles Staal at the puck, I think it was to Stamkos, he had the hat trick but maybe that's even the play that epitomizes all the other attributes that he has.  Do you agree with that?
COACH COOPER:  Well, he's an unselfish player.  He's a team‑first guy.  But as much as ‑‑ Tyler got on the score sheet tonight and he had the hat trick, but you really, if anybody was really watching, did you see the way Ondrej Palat played?  He was the guy that got pucks out, got pucks in.  I think he only had one assist on the night, but I thought he was a monster out there.  And that line kickstarted things for us.
You look at the way Fil, Killorn and Stammer, they were a completely different group tonight than they were the night before.  Stammer gets that goal later, but he deserves it.  Those guys have worked really hard, and Killorn ends up getting those two.  We need more scoring than just in the triplets, and we were getting that.  It went all through the lineup, Callahan, Morrow, Boyle, Brown, and then what our decoy was doing.  It was our battle level was extremely high.
We can talk about what Jonny did, but it wasn't just him, it was everybody else who picked it up behind him.  And that's why we won tonight.

Q.  Talk about that will.  In the second period, you're up one goal, Bishop loses the puck behind the net, Hedman comes over to slide behind the crease to keep that puck out.  What did you think of that?
COACH COOPER:  You've got to do those things to win games.  The game doesn't go‑‑ that's what's great about hockey.  There are just different bounces.  Players have to adapt.  The game is so fast.  We were sitting after the second period and it was a one‑goal game, and I thought, wow, the fans, I know the New York fans are losing the game by one, but they were getting their money's worth.  That game had everything.
I tell you, the one thing, I hope Brad is right, the ref, that didn't look good, but that was a tough part of the game.  Because we really had things going, and then the game, unfortunately, had to slow down a little bit because the ref, unfortunately, got injured and then we took that penalty.  I thought it kind of swung things in the Rangers' favor.  They get that P.P. goal that goes off Coburn.  Those guys are trying hard to keep it out and unfortunately it goes in.
But for us to come out of that second period with the lead was huge, because New York kind of had a little vibe going there.  But you have to do those things to win a hockey game, and they did.

Q.  There was a sequence early in the third where Bishop made those back‑to‑backs and you guys scored shortly after.  How huge was that sequence for you guys?
COACH COOPER:  Let's be honest.  There are four teams left and so many good goaltenders in this league.  But your goalie has to make some saves for you.  He doesn't always have to win a game for you, but he can't lose it.  You look at what Hank's done for them, what Bish has done for us.
You look at Andersen yesterday, the save he makes on Kane, who knows how that goes if he doesn't make that save.  You know, what Crawford has done.
Your goalie has got to make some plays for you.  Ultimately he's the last line of defense, and usually he's the guy that gets the finger pointed to him if he hasn't done well.  But more often than not, when they do well, they should be patted on the back, and that's what Bish has done for us.  He's another one that these as these games have gotten bigger, he's stood tall.

Q.  Brian Boyle was back in the lineup.  How big is it for the club to have him back?
COACH COOPER:  Big boost for us.  He hasn't played, he hasn't skated much, it took a bit for him to get his legs going.  I felt awful for him in the first shift, he gets on it for five seconds and takes a penalty.  But he makes us a little bit taller.  That line can grind and wear you out.  He didn't get on there a ton because there were so many penalties, and usually he's killing them for us, but it's hard to kill when he's in the box.
Then the other guys were kind of vibing for us, so didn't want to rush him and play him a bunch of minutes, and it kind of worked out well for us the way the game went on.  He got stronger as the game went on.  But we need Brian Boyle in the lineup.  He's a huge part of our success.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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