Stamkos: Lightning need to 'man up' after Game 2 blowout
Steven Stamkos offered a blunt assessment of the Tampa Bay Lightning's performance in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche.
"You guys all saw what happened tonight," Stamkos told reporters following the 7-0 defeat. "That's totally not acceptable, especially at this time of the year."
However, Stamkos is confident in his team's ability to bounce back and even offered a formula as to how they can do so.
"People are going to be watching this game tonight, probably think the series is over," he said. "But our group, we're a very resilient group. We're going to go back home. We were in this position last round. Whether it's 1-0 or 7-0 or 10-0, it's a loss in the playoffs, and you've got to move on. You've got to man up as a team and as a person. Our team is going to do that."
The Lightning rallied back against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, winning four straight games after falling down 2-0 in the series. Colorado appears to be a different beast, though, totally dominating in Saturday's outing.
The Avalanche controlled 71.9% of the shot attempts and 82.9% of the expected goals at five-on-five while outshooting the Lightning 30-16, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was equally frank about the current state of the series.
"They're playing at an elite level right now - give them credit. We are not," Cooper told reporters postgame.
"They're two good teams, they're just playing at a much higher level than we are right now, and I think it was evident watching that game tonight. So we have to elevate our play."
Cooper also explained his rationale for leaving Andrei Vasilevskiy in net for the entirety of the game instead of pulling him after the second period when the Bolts were already down 5-0.
"Even if I did, I don't think he would've come out," Cooper said. "That's what a competitor he is. And that's why he's the best."
Stamkos added that the players let their star netminder down.
"We left them out to dry tonight," the captain said, according to Steven Ellis of The Hockey News.
"He's been our backbone for years and years and years, and we owe it to him to have a better game next game. And I mean, it could have been more. He made some unbelievable saves. So by no means is this on him tonight."
Game 3 goes Monday in Tampa Bay.
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