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Lightning Name New Coach, Penguins Look to Extend Streak

In a quick turnaround, the Tampa Bay Lightning found its new coach on Monday, Jon Cooper, formerly the head coach of Tampa’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. He’s been in that role for three seasons and leaves the AHL-leading team with its 39-18-3-5 record.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper

Lightning coach Jon Cooper

Cooper said in a statement on Monday via NHL.com, “There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away.”

The move comes as the Lightning dismissed former coach Guy Boucher on Sunday morning after the team hit a 13-17-1 record over 31 games.

How the mighty have fallen. It was just two seasons ago in 2011–during Boucher’s first season–that he steered the Lightning within one game to the Stanley Cup Final. Fast forward two years later and the Lightning sit in the Eastern Conference’s 14th spot after losing on Sunday, 3-2, to the Winnipeg Jets.

For the Lightning, they are 45 to 1 to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

Monday’s games

The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on their home ice in a 3-2 shootout. Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron were Boston’s shootout scorers, while goalie Tuukka Rask was able to stop two of three shooters; he finished with 23 saves over regulation and overtime.

This comes after the Bruins played poorly on the road, going 1-3-0. They sit at 5 to 2 to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

The Los Angeles Kings staged a third-period rally on Monday and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-4. Tyler Toffoli and Dustin Brown scored the two comeback goals in the third period. This moved the Kings ahead for the win following Blackhawks Jonathan Toews efforts to give Chicago a 4-3 advantage at the top of the final period.

The Blackhawks still sit in the lead position of the Western Conference with their 24-4-3 record while the Kings sit in the sixth spot at 18-12-2.

For Chicago, they’re 9 to 2 to win the Stanley Cup this year.

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s games, the Pittsburgh Penguins (25-8-0) will look to extend their 12-game win streak as they host the Montreal Canadiens (20-6-5).

Penguins vs. Canadiens

It was just over three weeks ago that the Penguins started their win streak and it came from an OT victory over the Canadiens.

Will Montreal be the spoiler this time?

For the Penguins, their wins have come without star center, Evgeni Malkin. His return date is unknown as he’s recovering from an upper body injury from Feb. 22.

Penguins Brenden Morrow

Penguins Brenden Morrow

Along with the wins, a personnel change will come on Tuesday as newly-acquired left wing Brenden Morrow is expected to start for the Penguins. The team traded for Morrow from the Dallas Stars on Sunday for defensive prospect Joe Morrow (nope, not related) and a fifth-round pick for this year’s draft.

To join the Penguins, Morrow, 34, had waived his no-trade clause. He said of the opportunity via ESPN, “I’m looking forward to a new challenge and see if I get a boost from a new team, which I’m sure I’m going to with the skill this team has.”

As for the Canadiens, they sit five points behind Pittsburgh for the lead in the Eastern Conference.

Since losing on Feb. 25 to the Ottawa Sentators in a 2-1 shootout, the Canadiens have a 3.9 non-shootout goal average. In their last seven games, they have gone 6-0-1.

Goalie Carey Price may get the starting nod on Tuesday as he’s 1-1-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average from his four previous starts against the Penguins.

With a 13th win, it will be a first for the Penguins since its record 17-game streak from March 9 through April 10, 1993. At -147 with a 6 o/u, a win should come the Penguin’s way on Tuesday.





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