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19.12.2018 04:56
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WASHINGTON (AP) Victor Hedman figured all the Tampa Bay Lightning needed to get back on track was a shift in momentum.The big defenseman took it upon himself to provide it.Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs and added two assists http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-cory-schneider-jersey , and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 38 shots to help the Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final Tuesday night and cut their series deficit to 2-1. Hedman had the primary assist on power-play goals by Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and was a key part of three big penalty kills for Tampa Bay.”I’m put in a position to produce, and I put that pressure on myself to do it,” said Hedman, who has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak. ”For me, it’s about being effective at all ends of the ice and trying to be a difference-maker every time I step on it.”Hedman was dominant all over the ice as Tampa Bay looked like an entirely different team than the one that lost the first two games of the series at home and now has a chance to tie it in Game 4 on Thursday. The Norris Trophy finalist who played a team-high 25:08 was most proud of successful penalty kills.”He’s a perennial Norris guy,” Stamkos said of Hedman. ”We can’t describe how good he is out there. We rely on him a ton, he’s a horse and most nights if he’s going well, we’re going well as a team. Another big effort for him tonight, and you could see we all followed suit.”It wasn’t perfect, but it was a more complete effort from Tampa Bay, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Brett Connolly answered for Washington in the second. Brayden Point’s goal less than five minutes later allowed the Atlantic Division champions to play with a comfortable lead that survived Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 6-on-5 goal with 3:02 remaining.Vasilevskiy was a big part of holding on to the lead as he made seven saves on the penalty kill as part of a bounce-back performance after being criticized for his play earlier in the series. It wasn’t perfect, but the Lightning began to make it up to Vasilevskiy for hanging him out to dry on so many odd-man rushes in Games 1 and 2 by improving their defensive-zone play.”We always feel like we owe him,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. ”He’s our best player. He’s always there Jesper Bratt Jersey Kids , he’s always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him. I think that gives him some confidence, too, that he knows we’re on and that’s the way it should be.”The Capitals outshot the Lightning 38-23 but didn’t help goaltender Braden Holtby with six minor penalties. Holtby allowed four goals but was helpless on the one-timers on the power play by Stamkos and Kucherov – the 10th and 11th Tampa Bay power-play goals over a streak of seven games with at least one.”We know both teams have pretty good special teams, and if we’re going to play like that, they’re going to use it,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who combined with Kuznetsov to put 21 shots on net. ”Obviously, you can see we didn’t score, they scored.”Tampa Bay got two injury scares in the third period when Stamkos hobbled off after taking a slap shot from teammate Braydon Coburn in the right knee and Tyler Johnson was cross-checked by Michal Kempny. Each returned minutes later.Sporting an ice pack on his right knee, Stamkos said it was just a stinger and that he was fine. He wants the Lightning to be feeling better but not too good still down 2-1.”We haven’t done anything yet,” Stamkos said. ”The goal is to win a championship, but you can’t look too far ahead. We’ve made it a series.”NOTES: C Lars Eller took three of Washington’s six penalties. … With his 10th career power-play goal, Stamkos tied Martin St. Louis for Tampa Bay’s playoff record. … Injured C Nicklas Backstrom (right hand) took part in the Capitals’ morning skate but missed his fourth consecutive game. Coach Barry Trotz continues to call Backstrom day-to-day. … Trotz set a franchise record by coaching his 54th playoff game with Washington.— The Florida Panthers are off to a slow start this season — but not because they have played poorly.Florida will play its home opener on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. While many other NHL teams have already played three and four games this season — Columbus Leo Komarov Jersey Womens , for example, is 2-1-0 — the Panthers are 0-0-1 and have been off since last Saturday.But the Panthers aren’t worried. They finished one point short of the playoffs last season are a trendy pick to make the postseason in 2019.Article continues below ...Even so, the Panthers are already facing adversity as starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out two-to-four weeks due to a right-knee injury. He was hurt in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning.James Reimer is expected to start on Thursday, and Michael Hutchinson was called up from the Panthers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds.“No one wants to be without their No. 1 goalie, but it could have been worse,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “And we have good depth there.”The Blue Jackets are dealing with their own issues as forward Brandon Dubinsky suffered an oblique injury on Sunday and will likely miss at least four weeks.Dubinsky had brought physicality and grit to what had been Columbus’ best line in its first two games, teaming with Josh Anderson and Boone Jenner. In those two games, Dubinsky had one goal and one assist.“(The injury) is a tough break for him and for our team,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “That was our best line, and specifically him.”Columbus beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Tuesday in their first game without Dubinsky. The teams were tied 2-2 after two periods before Columbus closed with a flourish. Nick Foligno starred for the Jackets, scoring twice and adding one assist.Former Boston Bruins forward Riley Nash, signed as a free agent this past offseason Womens Kyle Palmieri Jersey , has replaced Dubinsky on that Anderson-Jenner line. He was a plus-one in 16 minutes of ice time on Tuesday.Another repercussion of the Dubinsky injury is that Lukas Sedlak — a healthy scratch the first two games — will be more involved as a fourth-line center. He got 6:47 of ice time on Tuesday, including 50 seconds on the penalty kill and 1:03 on the power play.Thursday’s lineup, however, is subject to change.“I can’t say what’s going to happen in my mind as we go through a game,” Tortorella said. “I want to keep lines together. But I also need better play from other people.”The Panthers, meanwhile, just want a victory. They played well on Saturday against the Lightning, a team favored to reach the Stanley Cup Finals this season. But Tampa Bay got a short-handed goal in the third period — Florida was using five forwards and no defensemen on its power play and got burned with that alignment — and the Lightning then won the game in the shootout.Winger Mike Hoffman, making his Panthers debut after scoring 104 goals the past four years with the Ottawa Senators, had an unlucky game. He hit the post on an overtime shot that would’ve won the game. Hoffman then hit a post again in his shootout attempt.

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