Light­ning strike vs. Cap­i­tals

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - LIGHT­NING CAP­I­TALS 4 2

WASH­ING­TON — 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, 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 eightgame 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 2-0 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, he’s al­ways there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him.”

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 one­timers 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.

— As­so­ci­ated Press AP

Tampa Bay cen­ter Bray­den Point cel­e­brates sec­ond-pe­riod goal dur­ing Light­ning’s 4-2 win over Cap­i­tals in Game 3 of Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals on Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.