CHICAGO -- When Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was told today the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to treat Game Six of the Stanley Cup final like any other game, he was incredulous at the thought.
"No chance. The Stanley Cup's in the building,," Cooper said pointedly. " I can't believe they would say, 'Oh, it's just another game.' We know it's just not another game. We haven't treated those elimination games like that. This is much different than Game One. You've got to win or you go home.
"On the other side, you know what happens if they win. I don't like to sugarcoat anything. This is the reality of the business we're in. We need to rise to the occasion."
The Lightning, remember, won Game Six of the first round in Detroit when trailing, 3-2, and took Game Seven of the Eastern Conference finals on the road in New York.
"Those were all do or dies," Cooper said. "Somehow, some way, those guys have found a way to draw a line in the sand and say, 'No more.' That's what they've done. I can't sit here and predict the result tonight. But I will tell you we will show up."
Both goalie Ben Bishop and winger Nikita Kucherov took the morning skate and Bishop seems pretty likely to start. Cooper used the NFL terminology of "probable" when asked about Kucherov.
Oddly, Bishop went counter to his coach when asked about the game's implications.
"You have to approach it like any other game," he said. "You can't look at a do‑or‑die situation. You have to prepare the same way you do in the pre‑season, the regular season and post‑season. You don't really change anything. I think we've played pretty well all playoffs. You don't really want to change anything, do anything different. I think we've had a consistent team all year. I think that's part of the reason we've done well.
"You can't change the way you play because of the implications of everything and the magnitude," added center Tyler Johnson. "You just have to play, do the right things that got you here."