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As the rest of the NHL opened
03-14-2019, 04:24 PM,
As the rest of the NHL opened
TAMPA Adidas Ian Cole Jersey , Fla. — play earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers practiced. And practiced. And practiced some more.But finally the last two teams yet to begin their season — at least in North America (Edmonton and New Jersey open in Sweden) — drop the puck Saturday at Amalie Arena.“You get a little jealous of watching the games,” Florida coach Bob Boughner told the team website. “You wish you could not only play one early but play the next one right after. But we’ve had some time here that has allowed us to fine-tune some things here, have some good meetings and have some good practices.”Article continues below ...Both Tampa Bay and Florida enter the season with high expectations, though for completely different reasons.The Lightning are coming off a loss in the Eastern Conference finals to the Washington Capitals, blowing a 3-2 series lead. It marked the second time in three years that Tampa Bay fell in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion in the conference finals.Tampa Bay no longer wants to be seen as a bridesmaid catching the bouquet at the reception. The Lightning want to be holding the prize at the center of the dance floor when the music stops.“It’s a process on how we are going to get there,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “But it’s a hard thing (to get there) and this group has done it year after year. Call it unfinished business.“You don’t know how long that is going to last, but you just have to keep trusting the process in getting there. Look no further than the Washington Capitals Adidas Philipp Grubauer Jersey , where it was setback after setback after setback and now a lot of those guys that went through a lot of those years got to realize their dreams.“We’re no different, it’s just our setback happened a little later in the playoffs. But there is a reason we keep getting that far and it’s because we have a great group in there and you can see the look in their eyes. Guys are looking forward to getting going.”The Panthers, on the other hand, are looking to get into the playoffs for the second time in four seasons after coming up just short last season. A late-season charge fell just a point short as Florida finished with 96 points — tied for the most points for a team that missed the postseason.After coming so close, the Panthers feel primed to be inside the playoff picture rather than on the outside.“Hopefully, the guys use that bad taste in their mouth from last year, being so close,” Boughner said. “We played with pride Adidas Cale Makar Jersey , but that can be a powerful motivator for this season.”Tampa Bay will start the season without veteran forward Ryan Callahan, who remains out after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery but is on track to return “in the coming weeks,” according to Cooper. Center Tyler Johnson is considered questionable after missing the final two weeks of training camp with an undisclosed upper-body injury.Both Callahan and Johnson have been practicing with the team. GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) Jan Mursak scored the tying goal in the final minutes of regulation and the winner in overtime as Slovenia came back to stun the United States 3-2 Wednesday night at Kwandong Hockey Centre in each team’s Olympic opener.Mursak, Slovenia’s only player with NHL experience, scored with goaltender Gasper Kroselj pulled for the extra attacker with 1:37 left in the third period and scored the winner 38 seconds into overtime. As Mursak’s shot went past goaltender Ryan Zapolski, U.S. players hung their heads on the bench before Slovenia players celebrated with their fans.It wasn’t the only surprise of the night, though the U.S. like all the other teams is playing without NHL players for the first time since 1994. Across town Adidas Adam Clendening Jersey , the favored Russians opened Olympic play with a 3-2 loss to Slovakia.Zapolski allowed three goals on 25 shots, including the first goal by Jan Urbas. Kroselj stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced to pick up the victory, giving up goals to Brian O’Neill and Jordan Greenway.After a feeling-out period in the first few minutes and American defenseman Noah Welch sliding in front of a wide-open net for the save of the game, the U.S. began drawing penalties with its speed and then found a way to cash in. Forward Garrett Roe flew down the left wing and dished the puck to a waiting O’Neill to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead 17:44 in.Kroselj made a handful of quality saves to keep Slovenia in the game, and Zapolski had to do the same in the second period, stopping Urbas on a one-timer with Greenway in the box and the U.S. on the penalty kill.Greenway, who was noticeably frustrated when he was denied on a point-blank chance early, made up for it with a heads-up play that made it 2-0. Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti’s initial shot pinballed off O’Neill in front and Greenway sped to the net to put home the rebound 12:57 into the second.The U.S. doubled up Slovenia in shots after two but couldn’t pull away and increase its margin of error. It became razor thin 5:49 into the third when Gregorc beat Zapolski to get Slovenia on the board.With captain Brian Gionta off for tripping Adidas Riley Nash Jersey , the U.S. got a couple of scares when Slovenia hit the post early on the power play and then almost scored moments later. With 1:37 left, Mursak scored from in front when playing 6-on-5. That goal forced overtime, where Slovenia continued to ride its momentum.NOTES: Defensemen Matt Gilroy and Noah Welch wore the ”As” as alternate captains. … Brandon Maxwell backed up Zapolski as veteran goalie David Leggio was scratched along with forward Chad Kolarik and defenseman Will Borgen. … The attendance was announced as 3,348 at Kwandong Hockey Centre on the campus of Kwandong Catholic University.—

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