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The Journal Gazette

  • Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point, left, defenseman Victor Hedman (77), from Sweden, and right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), from Russia, celebrate Kucherov's goal during the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:05 pm

Hedman, Lightning beat Caps to cut East final deficit to 2-1

STEPHEN WHYNO | Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs and added two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves to help the Tampa Bay 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 that gave Tampa Bay some much-needed momentum.

Vasilevskiy was on top of his game as the Capitals put 38 shots on net. Vasilevskiy made seven saves on the penalty kill alone to save a beleaguered unit that came in ranked 13th out of 16 playoff teams.

The Lightning would still like to cut down on the quality chances Vasilevskiy has to stop in Game 4 on Thursday and beyond, like the one Brett Connolly scored on after a turnover by Ondrej Palat. They also surrendered a six-on-five goal to Evgeny Kuznetsov with 3:02 left that made things interesting in the final minutes.