The league-best Tampa Bay Lightning are officially on the brink.
The Presidents' Trophy winners find themselves staring down a 3-0 deficit in their opening-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets after dropping Game 3 by a score of 3-1. Despite this, Lightning head coach John Cooper sees a silver lining.
"There was a lot of positive energy in that room after the third period," Cooper said after the game, according to FOX Sports Florida. "Adversity hits in different ways and we haven't had a lot of it during the regular season and we have it now. We had adversity going into the third period and I thought we responded well and we've just got to carry that on.
"As far as I know, we're playing Tuesday, right? So, we're still alive."
After a lackluster opening 40 minutes, the Lightning outshot the Blue Jackets 17-8 in the third period. Team captain Steven Stamkos alluded to that as a possible turning point while preaching a one-game-at-a-time mentality.
"We pushed. We pushed hard. If anything, maybe we found a recipe to break some of their structure there," Stamkos said, according to Bryan Burns of the Lightning's official site. "Obviously, it wasn't good enough.
"We've got to win a game, just win a game, get it back to Tampa," he said. "It's tough right now, but we just have to find a way. There's nothing to save it for right now. We just have to win the next game and see where it takes us."
The Lightning - who tied the NHL record with 62 wins this season - are the first team to win the Presidents' Trophy and go down 3-0 in a first-round series since the Vancouver Canucks in 2012. Only four teams in history have recovered from such a deficit, with the last being the 2014 Los Angeles Kings, who went on to capture the Stanley Cup.