"We're Giving It To Them": Lightning Coach Refuses To Give Leafs Any Credit

After getting out of the gate slow Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs settled in and won a thrilling Game 5 over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, to take a hard-earned 3-2 series lead. 

But Lightning coach Jon Cooper isn't having any of it. He gave the Leafs absolutely no credit for their win last night. 

"We're not really making them earn it. We're kind of giving it to them," said Cooper postgame. "Too many penalties that are momentum killers... That's on us.

"Tonight, I just thought too many mistakes... That game was there for the taking for us and we just let it slip through our fingers. It's on us."

Some are suggesting it's just Cooper playing mind games, not wanting to give the Leafs any confidence, knowing of their years of first-round playoff ghosts. Simply hoping to leave some doubt in their minds.  

However, part of winning games in the playoffs is taking advantage of opponents' mistakes. Forced or not. 

Leaf coach Sheldon Keefe, in fact, says it was his team that put the Bolts on their heels, giving his guys credit where it's due. 

"We had to go out and earn it," said Keefe. "We got to a point in the 2nd period where we got a hold of the game... just kept coming and coming... and they started to look tired, and that gave our team life. We could feel it and see it on the bench."

The series heads back to Tampa for Game 6 on Thursday, where the Lightning hope to cut down on their own mistakes, and the Leafs will try to continue to push the Bolts into making those errors.

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports