Jon Cooper predicts major things for Maple Leafs

The Bolts bench boss is predicting the future!

Michael W.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning battled one another in consecutive seasons in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the former emerging victorious in 2022 and the latter winning in 2023, their first postseason victory since 2004. 

There's also the fact that they're divisional rivals, so they see plenty of each other during the regular season as well. Not many figures in hockey have had a better view of the Leafs than Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, who attested to just how tough the division can be. 

"We played them in the playoffs the last couple of years," he said. "One we had to eek out in an overtime win in Game 6 and then win a game in Game 7 to get through them. The next year they went right through us, that's how close the Atlantic is. At the time it was Boston, Tampa, and Toronto and any one of us could've beaten anybody and now Florida is in the mix and kinda pushed themselves past the four of us.

It's so hard to get out of the Atlantic and I think you get judged on winning one playoff round and not winning a playoff round and I think it's tough. The Leafs, they won a round against us, they could've won other rounds but I don't think people understand how hard it is to do and it's not like the Leafs went through any of these teams and got blown out. They were right there, it's just a bounce here and there and they'd advance."

WIth head coach Craig Berube now leading the way, Cooper believes that it's just a matter of time until they finally go on an extended postseason run.

"I think in what I've seen of the Leafs, everything's been pushing in the right direction," he said. "They have a heck of a core, now they got a new coach - so let's see what happens, but like I said, playoffs are all about going on a run and one of these years. They're gonna go on a run, it's just what year is it gonna be." 

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