It is perhaps the most common complaint in sports, but it is quite unusual when it comes from the victorious coach. Jon Cooper should have been a happy man without any issues after his Tampa Bay Lightning roared to a 7-3 road victory in the opening game of their playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Instead, Cooper spoke about the state of officiating before the second game of the series. “The one thing that gets under everybody’s skin, the fans included, is if the refs get in the way,” Cooper said.
Obviously the Leafs and their fans were upset with officiating after allowing 4 power play goals that allowed the Lightning to run away with the triumph.
It would not have been a surprise if Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe had brought up the subject and waxed on the state of officiating for 15 minutes in front of the media, but he did not. Instead, it was Jon Cooper who brought it up as a significant issue.
It may have backfired, as his team did not display the same sharpness that it did in the opener. The Maple Leafs were fired up at the start and came out with desperation, running to a 3-0 lead after the first period in Game 2.
The Leafs set the tone early in the game when Mitchell Marner scored a power play goal at the 47-second mark. In addition to starting a celebration among fans, it allowed the Leafs to play a much looser brand of hockey. They added goals by John Tavares and William Nylander.
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