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Eastern Conference

Lightning Advance To Eastern Conference Final For 3rd Time In 4 Years

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have done something impressive, advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four seasons with a 3-1 series clinching win against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Tampa Bay is the eighth team in the past 20 years to clinch a berth in the Conference Final three times in a four-season span.

Tampa Bay will now face the the winner of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals second-round series.

“It’s good but it will be gratifying if we win two more series,” Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said (h/t NHL.com). “We’ve been here before so the shock and awe of really getting this far really isn’t there. We are happy with our first two series, but there is so much more work to do and we realize that.”

Tampa Bay will now focus on rest as they await their next round opponent.

“We won four in a row, I don’t think it has anything to do with our mindset other than we got over a hill, we needed to do to beat the Boston Bruins, who I can’t say enough that they’re an exceptional hockey team” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

“But it just gives us rest. There’s some banged up bodies in there. That’s what happens when you go through playoff rounds. Anything you get the rest, not only the body but also the mind, it’s huge for us.”

Eastern Conference

Devils’ Jesper Bratt Out 2-3 Weeks

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New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt will be out 2-3 weeks with a broken jaw.

Bratt, 20, was injured Thursday when he was hit in the face by a puck that was shot from the point and deflected off the crossbar.

“It was just a freak accident after practice; he was in the corner and there was a shot that went to the net and it hit the crossbar and inadvertently hit him,” Devils head coach John Hynes said (h/t NHL.com). “He has a fracture and no surgery is needed, so that’s good news. He should be able to continue his physical activity over the course of that time and he’ll be back ready to go when that time comes.”

“It stinks because he’s had a great training camp,” Devils forward Travis Zajac said. “He was playing better than how he started last year, but he’ll get a chance to come back even stronger. It’s one of those things as a young guy you just have to take in stride, not let it bother you, and just make sure you’re prepared to contribute when you do come back.”

“I met up with him right away after practice Thursday, and you feel so bad for him,” New Jersey forward Marcus Johansson stated. “This is once-in-a-lifetime thing to play an NHL game in Sweden and having family and friends here. He was playing really well, too, and working hard all summer.

“It’s not a fun situation and he’s not happy right now, but he’s a young kid and he has a lot of hockey ahead of him so you don’t want to risk anything by coming back too soon.”

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Eastern Conference

Panthers’ Derek MacKenzie Retiring at End of Season

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Florida Panthers forward Derek MacKenzi will be calling it a career at the end of the 2018-2019 season, according to The Athletic’s George Richards.

MacKenzie, 37, is entering his 18th season and 5th with Florida and stated that he would like to stay involved with the organization when his retirement becomes official.

 

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Eastern Conference

Islanders Name Anders Lee Captain

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The New York Islanders have officially named Anders Lee team captain, who will don the “C” after the departure of former team captain John Tavares during free agency, per an official team announcement.

Lee, 28, is coming off a career year which saw him collect 40 goals.

Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, and Andrew Ladd will serve as the team’s alternate captains.

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