Hedman shines as Lightning strike down Capitals

Friday's Sports in Brief

Jay Beagle doesn't ask Nicklas Backstrom how he's feeling. Given how uneven the NHL Department of Player Safety has been when it comes to dealing out supplemental discipline, this could've ended a lot worse for Stralman.

But the question might not be needed, anyway.

Indications are he'll return for Game 4.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are aiming to even the Eastern Conference Finals after a gutsy Game 3 win over the Washington Capitals. (Wow, just saying that feels weird.) Anton Stralman has no history of such behavior and can not be classified as a dirty player, there was no clear intent to injure in the hit, and there was no serious injury to Wilson as a result of the play.

The Capitals lead the series 2-1 after handily beating Tampa Bay in the first two games. "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". He's a one of a kind player. "Obviously to get him back would be huge".

Backstrom has been making progress. Backstrom has missed Washington's past four games with a right hand injury.

In the 14th minute, Steven Stamkos acute angle with the throw under the crossbar, opened the scoring in the second period, "Tampa" managed to make two more effective attacks. Eller has stepped up, and Washington has been disciplined on defense. Andrei Vasilevskiy has also seemed to found his game again after allowing ten goals in the first two games, and posted a 36 save bounce back performance in Game 3. Backstrom is a key member of the Capitals' penalty kill, and the unit has suffered without him. He's one of the guys that leads in the locker room.

Granted, Stralman could've made a better decision on the play and chosen to pump the breaks a little; however, he was penalized for this and the game progressed.

This is who the Lightning are: They defended expertly, limiting the odd-man rushes the Capitals used to outscore them 10-4 in the first two games. I can use him as a shut down guy.

"They came in here, they're desperate and they played that way", said Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

This means when Backstrom suits up, he could be limited in taking faceoffs. The 30-year-old Swede has 13 points in 11 postseason contests and had 71 during the regular season.

"It would be pretty cool", captain Alex Ovechkin said. He wants to be part of the success and he's our best center. "I'm very happy with the way we played from start to finish". "But we'll see what happens".

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