NEW YORK — Jon Cooper and Gerard Gallant will meet at center ice after the Eastern Conference Final ends for a handshake that will mean a great deal to each of them.
That their teams are embroiled in a series for the right to play for the Stanley Cup means that friendship is on hold for now, but will resume immediately after the series concludes.
The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 after winning Games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden. Game 3 is at Amalie Arena on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“This coaching community is close and for some reason I’ve been in it for a while now, but ‘Turk,’ to me, you’ve got your acquaintances, your friends and then you’ve got your guys that you text with on a regular basis,” Cooper said of Gallant. “He’s one of them.”