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Lightning stress there's no time for letdown in Game 3

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning solved the riddle of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final and will try to ride the momentum of the 6-2 win into Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Despite the strong offensive showing Monday, the Lightning don't want to be satisfied with one good performance, defenseman Victor Hedman said.

"We don't have time for a [letdown]," Hedman said. "There's four teams left and we have to stay focused and play like we did [Monday]. We took some penalties and got some momentum off those kills, and being able to score that shorthanded goal was huge. Now we're excited to go back home and play in front of our fans."

The shorthanded goal was one of three goals scored by forward Tyler Johnson, who didn't speak to the media Tuesday but was the main topic of conversation. Johnson leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 goals.

"It was really impressive, and you're not surprised it's him doing it," Hedman said. "He gets into those dirty areas and he's a team player. He never takes a night off, and it's tough to play at such a high level for 82 games and the playoffs, but he works hard and does it."

Hedman had a head-turning play in Game 2 when he made a sliding save on a wraparound attempt by Derek Stepan when goalie Ben Bishop was caught trying to play the puck with the Lightning holding a 3-2 lead.

"Things like that happen throughout a game," Hedman said. "Bishop got stuck behind the net and I was there and able to make a play. It was nice to help him because he's bailed me out quite a few times."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said it was a play that can define a series and the type of play that makes a difference in a tightly contested game.

"I don't think that you get to this part of the season without having a top, elite-tier defenseman, and Hedman is that guy for us," Cooper said. "He's blessed with the size, the skill and the speed to be able to make plays like he did [Monday]. And when he's going like that our team is going."

The Lightning power play was going well in Game 2. After going 2-for-27 against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round, the Lightning are 11-for-30 in the past eight games.

"The difference is, now we're scoring goals," Cooper said. "Sometimes you make the right plays and the puck bounces wrong or finds the post or something, but right now we're getting those pucks in the net."

Cooper said he knew forward Brian Boyle was going to play in Game 2 by Monday afternoon and he'll know more about Boyle's status for Wednesday during the morning skate. Boyle missed Game 1 with an undisclosed injury.

Author: Corey Long | Correspondent

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