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NHL: Lightning will benefit from rest

Coach Jon Cooper believes the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lightning will benefit from a recent rest period.

The Lightning, 15/2 to be crowned champions for a third straight season, have enjoyed over a week off for what was supposed to be the Olympic break.

Welcome period of rest

With no NHL players going to Beijing, the Lightning have found themselves with an unusual rest period for when they return to action against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

The Lightning (32-11-6) last played on 15th February when they beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 to reach 70 points which ranks second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the overall NHL standings.

After facing off against the Oilers, the Lightning will meet the Nashville Predators in an outdoor game at Nissan Stadium on Saturday before a hectic end of regular season which will almost certainly end with an opportunity to defend their double crown in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

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Busy schedule

The 54-year-old Cooper is the longest tenured bench boss in the NHL and in October 2021 signed a new three-year contract to extend his successful stay with the Lightning. 

Cooper said to the media: "It's healing the wounds and those bumps and bruises that nag and stay with you and wear you down, that's what I like about the break… in the long run, after the outdoor game, I think we're playing 31 games in 60 days.

"That is a boatload of hockey. Hoping a little break like this will help us for that stretch."

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