Bolts rally to give Cooper 500th win

by Gary Shelton on January 10, 2024

in general

Cooper wins his 500th.//TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

You can talk, if you want, about the odds of Nick Perbix being a hero for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Of course, there for a while, it didn’t look as if anyone would be.

Perbix scored his first goal of the year — the sixth of his career — in overtime to lead the Lightning to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Los Angeles in overtime. It was the third time in his career Perbix has scored a winning goal.

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Perbix scored the winning goal./TIM WIRT

Ah, but the chances of anyone getting a winner for the Bolts seemed distant for most of the game. The Bolts trailed 2-0 after two periods before rallying for the win.

It was the 500th win for Lightning coach Jon Cooper, all with the Bolts. He becomes the sixth NHL coach to win 500 all with one team.

Still, it had to be a vexing game for Cooper. His team had plenty of chances early but could not find the net.

Tyler Motte finally score with 7:23 remaining. After another 3:02 passed, Brandon Hagel scored to tie the game at 2 to force overtime.

In the extra period, Hagel found Perbix breaking to the net. Perbix knocked home a backhand for the win.

Hagel had gone 18 games without a goal before the Bolts’ win over Minnesota on Thursday.

It was a memorable game for Cooper, who has accomplished more than anyone else as coach of the Bolts.

“I never thought I’d coach one game n this league, let alone win 500 of then,” Cooper said. “It sneaks up on you. At some point, I’ll look back on this, but it’s a team sport. People think of that being about athe players, but a big part of the game is going on in the background. That’s the staff.”

The Bolts are now 20-17-5. They are home at Amalie Arena on Thursday night against New Jersey at 7 p.m.

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