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Hedman shines as Lightning strike down Capitals
18 May 2018, 04:11 | Sandy Nunez
Hedman, Lightning beat Caps to cut East final deficit to 2-1
Tampa Bay has a chance to even the series at two games each, and Thursday night will determine whether the Lightning have wrenched momentum back from a Capitals team that returned from Tampa brimming with confidence.
Hedman had a goal and an assist as the Lightning scored twice on the power play and cut the Capitals best-of-seven series lead to two games to one. But when the Lightning stubbed their toe and dropped the first two games at home against the Capitals, for the first time in the playoffs fingers started to point towards Tampa Bay's captain, who was still searching for his first even-strength point of the series. "And we did", said Stamkos, after the Lightning's 4-2 road victory on Tuesday night reduced their series deficit to 2-1. "You have Kuch (Nikita Kucherov) on the other side of him doing the same thing for the most part so it is definitely a threat our power play possess".
You can see that the average three-game segment sees Tampa Bay get over 52 per cent of the scoring chances.
"They just keep getting deeper", Cooper said. Often times, that's what those guys do.
"When you're in a situation like we were, we needed to do it tonight". They combined for three goals and four assists. It was a bounce-back performance for the veteran player, after missing almost all of the 2016-17 campaign due to injury. Tampa Bay struggled in his absence and narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing with 94 points.
Braden Holtby (27.3 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for the Capitals.
"Of course, you feel it a little bit when your ownership - management - goes out and makes some big trades", Stamkos said. "He can pass the puck and he's been here for a long time and he's a world-class player". He wants to be part of the success and hes our best center. While Lars Eller has performed admirably in his place, there is no doubt about the kind of impact Backstrom can have in the lineup. He certainly wasn't willing to miss another opportunity after having been injury-prone his entire career. The team's had to kill penalties 8.8 minutes per game over their last five outings. Then past year, the knee injury. The Lightning were the Lightning again in Game 3.
"Obviously (he has) got great hands and makes some nice plays", Lightning defenceman and fellow Swede Victor Hedman said. The big thing is to stay out of the box.
"It doesn't matter how you defend them, they're going to find a way", Cooper said not only of Stamkos' goal, but Kucherov's similar one-timer. The team is 6-3 in those games. He's one of the guys that leads in the locker room.
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