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NHL - US Sports: Cooper has trust in Lightning

After losing a third straight game on Wednesday, coach Jon Cooper re-instated his trust in the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup twice in a row and, after their recent turbulent spell, are 11/1 to three-peat.

The Lightning were 37-12-6 and hadn't lost consecutive games all season up until early March. However, inconsistency has since crept into their play and they have lost three in a row on three occasions, with the latest defeat a 4-3 setback against the Washington Capitals in midweek.

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Coopers side are 6-8-1 over their past 18 games and now 43-20-7 over the season.

Playoff place not in doubt

Despite their recent rocky patch, the Lightning are set to cement their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs shortly, as they hold the first Wild Card spot from the Eastern Conference and are a healthy 20 points ahead of the New York Islanders with just 12 regular season games remaining.

The Lightning's positioning in the regular season, isn't of due concern for Cooper who is the NHL's longest reigning coach.

In 2019/20, Tampa won the cup from second place in the Atlantic Division, and last season lifted the Championship after finishing third in the re-aligned Central Division.

'Trust'

Cooper has a core of players who he knows can deliver at the most important time of year, and he reiterated his faith in his team saying: "To me, you have to trust your group. As coaches, you have to make sure your guys are prepared and then you have to trust your group after that."

He added: "We've gone through this now a number of years. But we've got to make sure, is the work ethic still in check. Like, is their preparation in check? Those are basically two things that is on them. Everything else will take care of itself."

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