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Cooper laments Bolts' 'complete lack of discipline' in loss to Jets

Mike Carlson / National Hockey League / Getty

Jon Cooper criticized his Tampa Bay Lightning for failing to stay out of the penalty box during a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

"It's a complete lack of discipline," the Bolts head coach said following the defeat. "It was embarrassing what we did. How many five-on-threes you're up against in one season, you (can) count on maybe one hand, and we gave them two minute-and-a-half five-on-threes in one game. Unacceptable.

"That shouldn't happen," Cooper continued. "Good on Winnipeg. Honestly, it was really a nothing game going on. That game could've been 0-0 and a shootout. They stayed disciplined, said, '(Let's) sit back and wait for Tampa to screw it up,' and they did."

Cooper expanded upon his thoughts when asked whether he expected the game to be so intense.

"Honestly, I didn't find that game intense at all," he said with a laugh. "Tell me what happened in the game other than us taking penalties and giving them opportunities."

The Jets scored on both five-on-three chances in their victory, adding an empty-netter while down two skaters after the Lightning pulled their goaltender on a power play. Pierre-Luc Dubois netted Winnipeg's first goal with the man advantage in the second period, and Kyle Connor buried the second to make it 3-2 for the Jets early in the third.

Morgan Barron potted the shorthanded empty-net tally with under two minutes left in regulation.

Tampa Bay fell to 24-13-1 this season. The team won three straight games to close out 2022 and beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Tuesday before losing 5-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. The Bolts still have a nine-point cushion for third place in the Atlantic Division, but the fourth-place Buffalo Sabres have two games in hand.

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