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May 14, 2018

Jon Cooper

Washington, D.C.: Practice Day

Q. There have been a lot of momentum swings in the two games that have gone against you. Is there an art to handling that moment after that shift after that however much time afterward? And how do you feel you have responded?
JON COOPER: I don't know if there's an art to it. We've just been on both sides of it. I mean, I can point out scenarios in the New Jersey series, definitely scenarios in the Boston series, where just you earn your breaks and things go your way, and you take advantage of that. And then the other side of things is what's happened to us in the first two games where I'm not so sure we've earned our breaks the way we did in the previous two series, and when you don't do that, sometimes bad things happen.

You just have to regroup, and that's it, and figure out why things haven't gone your way and fix those things. And I know we can do that. We're doing some things in the series that we just didn't do in the Playoffs, and partially some of that is -- attribute that to Washington's play, but a lot of it's our play, too, and I know our guys, we can fix that.

Q. Is there any explanation for that? You guys -- you played so well, and then all of a sudden --
JON COOPER: It's hard to explain. If you could, maybe we wouldn't be down 0-2. But it's quick, it goes fast. It's within 48 hours, the series is two games over, and we're on the wrong side of that. And so can you judge how a team has played in the Playoffs over the last 48 hours or over the last month? Over the last month, we've played pretty darned well. We got ourselves to the final four. Haven't had a last good 48 hours, and we've got to fix that.

Q. Because you've seen how it can deflate a team when things go against them real quick, when it happens to you, do you stress the importance of bouncing back, or is it just understood?
JON COOPER: Yeah, the one thing is like the emotions are so high and so low. Like you can't -- when things were going so well for us, one of the big things was don't jump on that cloud 9 and don't sit here and say, we're all good. I thought we did a great job of that. And so now that we've -- we're not on cloud 9, it's like, well, don't feel sorry for ourselves, it's just the opposite effect. We're okay. There's a reason we're here. And we've done a pretty good job of that all year, so I'm not too concerned about that. It's just you have to -- you just have to stay the course. Just don't let every little thing bother you, and we'll be okay.

Q. Are you thinking about some potential lineup changes going into Game 3?
JON COOPER: Like who?

Q. I mean, like is Adam ready --
JON COOPER: If he's ready to go, then we've got to make some decisions in regard to that, but as I said, not judging our Playoffs in 48 hours.

Q. How do you go about frustrating Alex Ovechkin, making it a little tougher on him?
JON COOPER: Well, one thing about Alex, Alex is having -- how do I say this? How many years has he been in the league?

Q. A lot, 14.
JON COOPER: 14 years. I think he's taken 14 years of frustration out in one Playoffs round. Not round, like one series or -- you know what I am trying to say. Not just us, like his whole Playoffs season. He's taking it out on that, and he's -- there's a reason he has 600 goals and he's done all these wonderful things in the league. In the past he's not had playoff success, and when you do get to taste a little bit of it, it really tastes good.

In saying that, the one thing about Ovie is you can't allow him to have the puck in situations where he can shoot it clean, and last night is a perfect example. If you just give him a two on one, and if you're going to give a guy of his talent that much time and space to put a puck in the net, he's going to do it.

Some of those -- Game 1, that shot he takes, like that's on his tape. And when he does that that local, we've got to block those shots, and we're just not doing that, and we've got to do a better job.

Q. What's different about this team that makes you confident that they can rebound?
JON COOPER: I don't know if there's anything different. I'm just confident in our group. They've got 113 points for a reason. There's a really good group of guys there. They've got a ton of experience, and when their backs have been against the wall, they've shown a propensity to fight back. This is a tough one. We lost two at home and definitely not an ideal situation. But we're not done. Like it's not over.

Just the mood in the room after the game, like it wasn't -- it wasn't depression, it was more kind of like an anger of like we want to get back -- like let's get Game 3 going here, so that was good to see.

Q. You said they wanted to be better and you needed to execute better. How much as a coach and as a staff do you make adjustments and maybe whether it's getting the forecheck or -- obviously it's a big time for you guys, too, in terms of --
JON COOPER: Well, a couple things. One, we're probably not following our structure the way we have in the previous two series. That's one thing.

The second thing is execution. When you get chances to make plays -- and our team has an ability to make plays, and we're not. It's either the puck is in the skates or it's too far ahead or you're putting it somewhere where they can't handle it. It's just unlike us.

In saying that, like in any two-game season, I could probably show you 15 games where that happened; know what I mean? It happens. Nobody plays the perfect game -- nobody goes 82-0. Nobody goes 16-0 in the Playoffs. It's just heightened when you're at this time of year and at this time. Is it discouraging that this has happened to us right now? There's no question. But come on, boys, let's regroup and do what we do best and what we've done together this year, and we'll be okay.

Q. Vasilevskiy has been your guy all season. He's shown a real capacity for bounce-back. Is it just right now -- are you just riding it no matter what happens?
JON COOPER: Yeah, Vasi is our guy. He's been the rock of this team all year. To be honest, I don't think it matters who's in goal right now, some of the chances we've been giving them and the number of chances. You play defense as a team, and your goalie is the last line of defense, and when you stack them all up, I'm taking Vasilevskiy. But regardless who's in the net, you're going to give up these chances, it makes it hard on your goaltender, and believe me, he's the last guy we're pointing fingers at.

Q. In the Devils' series (indiscernible) Boston series, attempts at a big goal in Game 4. You've saved your best players for the Playoffs. How much more than ever do you need those guys, Hedman and all those guys --
JON COOPER: You do, you need everybody, and you just can't depend on a couple guys to do all the work for you. The problem is right now we're not getting any production other than from our power play, and the very -- it's probably very reminiscent of what we did to Boston, and then you've got the power play scoring, not much 5-on-5, that's happening to us now against Washington, and that's just not a one-line thing, that's a four-line thing, and that's what we've got to get better at.

Q. What message do you have for the fans who are maybe discouraged?
JON COOPER: The one thing about our fans and this team, I think we're just kind of a family together. When something is going great, everybody is happy for everybody in the family, and when it's not, I think everybody is down. But there's one thing that this team has done is we've kind of ridden the emotion of our fans and tried to pick them up, and they certainly have picked us up. I think the people that have been around this team long enough know the kind of heart that's in that room. We'll be all right.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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