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lin hong Oct 10

TAMPA J'Mon Moore Color Rush Jersey , Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a division title by a single point on the final day of the regular season, but even the top seed in the Eastern Conference only did them so much of a favor.

The Lightning open the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday against a New Jersey Devils team that swept them in three regular-season meetings, presenting a real challenge as Tampa Bay hopes to start a deep postseason run.

New Jersey is in the playoffs for the first time since losing in the 2012 finals, so many of the Devils players are new to the energy and urgency of playoff hockey. The Lightning don’t want to make that out to be too tremendous an advantage.

“Experience is what you make of it,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, whose team missed the playoffs last year but made the finals and conference finals in 2015 and 2016. “Naturally, it’s good to have gone through some of these situations before, but I look at our team in 2015 Solomon Thomas Jersey , we didn’t really have much experience and we were able to get through.”

The Devils have had a playoff mindset for weeks, battling for the last wild card in the East, and coach John Hynes said that intensity makes for a natural carry-over to the actual playoffs ahead.

“The fact that we were able to play that type of hockey, really had to push and play our way in has strengthened our belief,” Hynes said. “You can’t match the intensity of the playoffs in the regular season, just because it’s a little more physical and a little more tightly contested and everybody’s all in on every game.”

All three regular-season meetings were one-goal games, the first going to New Jersey in a shootout. The Lightning have a healthy respect for Devils left winger Taylor Hall, who leads the team with 39 goals and 54 assists.

Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov matched Hall’s 39 goals http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-cordy-glenn-jersey , but he has a much stronger scoring complement around him. New Jersey has only one player with 25 or more goals, while Kucherov has Brayden Point (32), Steven Stamkos (27) and rookie Yanni Gourde (25), making them harder to defend with threats on multiple lines.

The Lightning have the league’s top scoring offense, but also have a vulnerability on the penalty kill, where they ranked 27th in the league, stopping only 76 percent of opponents’ power plays. New Jersey’s power play ranked 10th in the NHL, and presents another threat Jason Spriggs Jersey , having scored an NHL-best 12 short-handed goals.

Both goalies are relatively young and inexperienced in the playoffs — Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, still just 23, has a 4-5 record in 12 postseason appearances, while New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid, 28, will be making his playoff debut.

The series begins in Tampa — where the Lightning tied for third-most home wins with 29 this season — with games on Thursday and Saturday before shifting to New Jersey for the next two games.

Alex Ovechkin knocked his own rebound out of midair and by Matt Murray with 1:07 remaining to lift the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their increasingly testy Eastern Conference semifinal series with Pittsburgh.

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2-1 series lead when he collected a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and fired a shot that ripped by Murray before hitting the right post.

Ovechkin stayed with it and his baseball-like swat gave him eight goals in the playoffs and the Capitals their fourth consecutive road win in the postseason.

Ovechkin has also scored in four consecutive playoff games this postseason.

Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Chandler Stephenson also scored for Washington. Braden Holtby finished with 19 saves. Backstrom had three assists.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist also scored, but the Penguins lost consecutive playoff games for only the fourth time since the start of their runs to consecutive Stanley Cups began in 2016.

Matt Murray made 18 stops but couldn’t get his glove – a problem area all postseason – on Ovechkin’s initial shot Quenton Nelson Jersey , allowing the Russian star to have a shot at the rebound.

JETS 7, PREDATORS 4

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Blake Wheeler scored on the power play with 4:59 to play and Winnipeg roared back from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat Nashville and grab a 2-1 lead in the second-round playoff series.

After missing on a number of earlier chances, the Jets captain connected on a rebound off Mark Scheifele’s shot from a tight angle for his second of the postseason.

Dustin Byfuglien had two goals and an assist for Winnipeg, while Paul Stastny added a goal and two assists.

Wheeler also had an assist and added the empty-netter with under a minute to play. Brandon Tanev also scored with Rinne on the bench in the game’s final minute.

Jacob Trouba scored a goal and set up another for a two-point night. Connor Hellebuyck made 26 stops.

Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban each had a goal and an assist for Nashville, while Mike Fisher and Austin Watson also scored.

Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Johansen both added two assists for the Predators, who got 38 stops from Pekka Rinne.

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