Lightning’s Jon Cooper: ‘Heart Breaks’ for TB players after Game 4 loss to Avalanche | Bleacher Report

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Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was emotional after his team’s controversial 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.

Cooper only answered one question during the postgame press conference, telling reporters that he is “heartbroken” for his players because of how the game ended:

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“You’ll see what I mean when you see the winning goal. My heart breaks for the players because we probably should still be playing.”

Jon Cooper only answered one question after the game and was clearly not happy about the Avalanche’s game-winning goal in overtime.

Before Nazem Kadri’s game-winning goal, there were some confusion that the Avs may have had too many men on the ice. Nathan MacKinnon was being replaced by Kadri, but it took him more than five seconds to get to the bench.

At the same time, it also seemed like Lightning had an extra man on the ice when substitutions happened:

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As a couple of people pointed out, if Cooper wants too many men here, it’ll be hard to argue with 7 Lightning players who have their feet on the ice.

The official NHL game sheet showed that six Colorado players were on the ice when the game-winning goal was scored:

NHL Hockey Operations released a statement after the game about the controversy.

“A penalty for too many men on the ice is a judgment call that can be made by any of the four officials on the ice,” the statement read (via’s mike zeisberger). “After the game, Hockey Operations met with the four officials as is their normal protocol. In discussing the game-winning goal, each of the four officials reported that they did not see too many men on the ice at the play.”

There was a similar situation that the Lightning benefited from in last year’s playoffs. Yanni Gourde scored a shorthanded goal in Game 7 of the semi-final that ended up being the difference in a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders.

Andrew Gross of news noted that an image circulated that appeared to show Tampa Bay having five skaters on the ice. Barclay Goodrow was serving a two-minute cross-check penalty at the time.

None of the islanders were asked about the situation. The Lightning then won their second straight Stanley Cup Final by defeating the Montreal Canadiens.

Wednesday’s loss put the Lightning on the brink of defeat, facing a 3-1 series deficit heading back to Ball Arena for Game 5.

The only team to erase a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final was the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942. They lost the first three games of their series to the Detroit Red Wings before winning four in a row.

The Lightning and Avs will play Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday at 8 pm ET.

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