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Angry after losing a playoff game [url=http://www.officialwild.com/authentic-adidas-kyle-quincey-jersey]Authentic Kyle Quincey Jersey Kids[/url] , Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning took out their ire on the New Jersey Devils.
Not only did the Lightning defeat New Jersey 3-1 on Wednesday to move within a game of making the Devils’ first trip to the playoffs in six years a short one, Kucherov was a one-man demolition man.
The NHL’s No. 3 scorer this season scored two goals, set up another and knocked New Jersey’s top defenseman, Sami Vatanen, out of the game with a big hit in the opening period.
”Kuch tonight flexed his muscles,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”He’s pretty dynamic on the power play, but tonight, all around, I thought he was the best player on the ice.”
Kucherov has been the best player in the series so far. He has four goals and five assists in four games and he came into this game upset after the Lightning blew a 2-1 third-period lead in Game 3 to let the Devils back in the series.
With a 3-1 lead now, Tampa Bay can wrap up the best-of-seven series in Game 5 at home on Saturday.
”I didn’t like the way we had so many penalties in the last game, giving up so many opportunities on the power play,” Kucherov said. ”For me, I was (angry) and didn’t want to lose-especially the way they reacted after some goals.”
The play everyone is going to talk about and the NHL probably will look at is Kucherov’s hit on Vatanen. No penalty was called but the 24-year-old Russian appeared to jump before hitting Vatanen in the shoulder and head area.
Cooper thought the hit was legal. Devils coach John Hynes screamed at the officials after the play but declined to talk about it after the game. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who made 34 saves, said he would give referees Tim Peel and Wes McCauley the benefit of the doubt on the play.
Kucherov said he did not intend to hurt Vatanen, who did not return. He has an undisclosed upper body injury, the Devils said.
”He’s normally the one dancing around guys,” said linemate J.T. Miller [url=http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic-adidas-max-domi-jersey]Authentic Max Domi Jersey[/url] , who scored the other Lightning goal and had two assists. ”I couldn’t believe it was him. I was right behind him and that’s a big-league hit right there. That’s the type of player he is. He’s competitive and he wants to win really bad.”
Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped three breakaways in making 27 saves as the Lightning bounced back from a 5-2 loss.
”Vasy made some great saves, especially early on the game with a couple of breakaways,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. ”That calmed us down a bit and I thought we played a great third period.”
Kyle Palmieri scored on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Devils, who are back in the playoffs for the first time since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. It was the only time they beat Vasilevskiy, whose 44 wins in the regular season shared the league lead with Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck.
”We were picked to finish last in the East and last in the Metro,” Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. ”This is a spot we are comfortable. We are comfortable being the underdog. We need to go out and win one game in Tampa. We need to go out and play our best game.”
Kucherov broke a 1-all tie with 4:58 left in the period. Defenseman Brayden Coburn sent a pass from the left boards that hit off Devils’ defenseman Damon Severson. Kucherov collected the loose puck right in front and put it high into the net for his third goal of the series. He would ice the game with an empty-net goal with 1:08 to go.
The Lightning had tied it at 11:30 of the opening period on a great rush. Stamkos fed Kucherov entering the zone and he found Miller on the left side for a shot over Schneider’s shoulder.
Cory Conacher appeared to give Tampa Bay the lead with 7:39 left in the period, but the goal was overturned when a review found the Lightning were offside.
For the first time in the series, the Devils scored first with Palmieri converting from the left circle with the Lightning playing two men short at 8:23 of the first.
Alex Killorn got the first penalty at 7:47 with a hook and 25 seconds later Cedric Paquette tripped Taylor Hall. Eleven seconds later, New Jersey had its second 5-on-3 goal in two games.
NOTES: Lightning D Ryan McDonagh appeared in his 100th NHL playoff game. … This is the first time Schneider has had consecutive starts since Jan. 22-23. … There were no lineup changes for Game 4. … Vatanen has been leading the Devils in time on ice in the series, averaging 23:23. … Tampa Bay was 5 of 9 on the power play in the first three games. They were 0 for 5 in Game 4. They killed off 6 of 7 Devils’ power plays.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Keion Crossen spent most of Saturday doing what all NFL bubble players do: wondering, worrying — and, most importantly, refreshing his phone.
“All day. Every second hitting refresh, refresh the Twitter page or whatever you got to do,” Crossen said Sunday after making the New England Patriots‘ final roster as a seventh-round draft pick.
Then came 4 p.m. Saturday — and the phone did not ring.
“It didn’t ring. That’s a good sign,” said Crossen, who spent the day with some teammates [url=http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/brian-quick-jersey]http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/brian-quick-jersey[/url] , two of whom didn’t make it.
The cornerback from Western Carolina, once a 147-pound high school quarterback, had made it to the opening roster of a team seeking its sixth Super Bowl win this century.
“I enjoyed it at 4:01 and I’m ready right now,” he said. “I was focused at 4:02 to get started for Houston week.”
He added he had trouble sleeping both Friday and Saturday nights, the first night worrying and then looking ahead.
“As the business goes, you gotta move on, you gotta prepare, you can’t let your mind stay in yesterday,” he said. “Moving forward for me is a big deal, especially for me coming in Week 1 as a rookie, I want to make sure I know as much as I need to know going into Game 1.
“(Saturday night) I was just more focused on getting to know my opponent. That’s the reason I couldn’t sleep, because I wanted to know my opponent as much as I could before I get with the coaches and everything.”
The opponent for Week 1 is Deshaun Watson, the mobile Texans quarterback who can drive a defense crazy. That’s enough for even a veteran to worry about/
In a strange twist to the story, Crossen said he didn’t tell his parents, Winnie and Thomas, until Sunday morning that he made the cut – and added they didn’t know until he told them.
“They’re happy parents,” he said. “They enjoyed that I get to enjoy my dream. They just hoped the best for me. They did not know … my mom cried, my dad’s a little tough [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-reilly-smith-jersey]Reilly Smith Jersey[/url] , so he played a little hardball. But they’re happy, they’re definitely happy.
“I didn’t call anyone . the last 24 hours I’ve just been waiting. So I kinda knew, I guess, when you all knew, and I’m very happy to be here and I’m ready to get started.”
Crossen dressed in a corner of the locker room with three other young players. Their names, including A.J. Moore and John Atkins, who didn’t make the squad, were gone when he came in Sunday morning. Asked if that was different, he said, “It is. It is, very different. But I’m ready to play, focusing on this week and focusing on what I can do to make the team better.
“It’s always tough (seeing guys go). I know as a rookie class you come in together, some go and some stay, but at the end of the day I wish everyone who’s not here the best and everyone who is here, (to) have a great season.”
And now, borrowing a Bill Belichick phrase, it’s on to Houston.
“I don’t know what to anticipate,” Crossen said. “Obviously still a rookie [url=http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/nick-kwiatkoski-jersey]Nick Kwiatkoski Jersey[/url] , still learning. I’m just kind of go with the flow. I know we’re going to practice, I definitely know that, so only control what I can control and work hard every day.
“It’s a joy to be here.”
NOTES: The Patriots claimed WR Amara Darboh off waivers from Seattle and WR Chad Hansen off waivers from the Jets. Darboh, 24, was a third-round draft pick (106th overall) in 2017 by Seattle out of Michigan and appeared in all 16 games last year with eight receptions for 71 yards. Hansen, 23, was drafted in the fourth round last year out of California. He played in 15 regular-season games with one start last year and made nine receptions for 94 yards. … Eight players were signed to the practice squad: OL Cole Croston, QB Danny Etling, OL James Ferentz, DL Trent Harris, WR Riley McCarron, DT Vincent Valentine, RB Ralph Webb and CB Jomal Wiltz. All of those players were with the team for training camp. … The Patriots placed 2018 seventh-round draft pick TE Ryan Izzo on injured reserve.
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