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The Winnipeg Jets can thank their own St. Patrik for their success this season and potentially for years to come.Patrik Laine was the consolation prize in the 2016 NHL draft behind generational talent Auston Matthews. But he has been a cause for celebration in Winnipeg as a franchise-changing superstar at age 19.Mathieu Perreault saw the power Alex Ovechkin had to alter the direction of the Washington Capitals and turn them into a perennial playoff team and Stanley Cup contender. When Laine arrived from Finland www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com , the winger started doing the same things in Winnipeg.”The organization wasn’t having a whole lot of success, and then they get Ovi as a young kid and he starts scoring goals, and all of a sudden the team starts winning,” Perreault said.”They became a very dominant team for many years. So you kind of sense that here, where the team’s been struggling for many years, not making the playoffs. And then you get this young kid coming in and scoring goals for your team and helps your team win games. I think coming up in Winnipeg we’ll have a dominant team for many years.”That’s because Laine is already a dominant player. With 16 goals and eight assists in his past 14 games, Laine has the longest point streak by a teenager and already passed Wayne Gretzky for the most goals by a player before turning 20.The best part for the Jets? Laine is just getting started.”It’s really impressive when you factor in he’s still learning the game,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”His scoring has taken off of late, but so has his game, his all-around game. … He’s an impressive young man at 19. At any age, those numbers would be elite. But at 19, that’s pretty exciting because there’s lot of room as he physically matures, for his game to change and become a power forward and a big, strong man who can score off the rush. Take pucks to the net. There are lots of places Patty is going to improve over the years.”Laine is drawing comparisons to Ovechkin for his shot, which teammates and opposing goaltenders say is even more deceptive than the Russian 600-goal scorer ‘s blast. Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who has taken Ovechkin shots in practice for years Winnipeg Jets T-Shirts Authentic , said Laine’s long stick changes the angle of where the puck is going.”He shoots it, he pulls it in a little bit weird – long stick – and makes it really hard for us to read,” Grubauer said.As much as Laine looked up to Ovechkin as a kid, the respect is now mutual. When Ovechkin scored twice Monday to reach 600 and get to 42 this season, Laine answered with his 41st and showed he has what it takes to go goal-for-goal with hockey’s best.”He’s a great talent and still young and still can produce lots of dangerous (chances),” Ovechkin said.Laine said it has always been a goal to win the Maurice ”Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, and he’s in the race to do that. Entering Saturday, he’s one behind Ovechkin and one ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.”It’s always been one of my dreams to win it,” Laine said. ”It’s good motivation for me.”Laine is also motivated by trying to help set the Jets up for the playoffs and make a long run this spring. Winnipeg has been banged up and secondary scoring has been hot and cold, but Laine’s scoring pace has his teammates believing anything is possible.”You give him one opportunity and it’s in the back of the net,” Perreault said. ”Right now every shot it seems goes in. It helps us win games when he scores like that. It’s been fun to see.”Maurice doesn’t know what he sees as Laine’s ceiling, but doesn’t think it matters. As Laine’s game rounds out, he’ll face different kinds of defensive challenges, and then it’ll be up to him to prove he can sustain scoring the way Ovechkin has over the past decade-plus.”The overall game Patty will play will become far more important than whether it’s 40, 50 or whatever that number (of goals) ends up being,” Maurice said.”At some point Winnipeg Jets Hoodies Authentic , Patty is going to play 20 minutes a night. Maybe not at 19, but when that happens, he’ll be playing against the `A’ group. It’s not as easy to keep scoring like Ovechkin has when you move up the lineup and you play more minutes and you play against the other teams’ best.”— WASHINGTON (AP) Victor Hedman figured all the Tampa Bay Lightning needed to get back on track was a shift in momentum.The big defenseman took it upon himself to provide it.Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs and added two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 38 shots to help the Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final Tuesday night and cut their series deficit to 2-1. Hedman had the primary assist on power-play goals by Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and was a key part of three big penalty kills for Tampa Bay.”I’m put in a position to produce, and I put that pressure on myself to do it,” said Hedman, who has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak. ”For me, it’s about being effective at all ends of the ice and trying to be a difference-maker every time I step on it.”Hedman was dominant all over the ice as Tampa Bay looked like an entirely different team than the one that lost the first two games of the series at home and now has a chance to tie it in Game 4 on Thursday. The Norris Trophy finalist who played a team-high 25:08 was most proud of successful penalty kills.”He’s a perennial Norris guy,” Stamkos said of Hedman. ”We can’t describe how good he is out there. We rely on him a ton, he’s a horse and most nights if he’s going well, we’re going well as a team. Another big effort for him tonight, and you could see we all followed suit.”It wasn’t perfect, but it was a more complete effort from Tampa Bay, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Brett Connolly answered for Washington in the second. Brayden Point’s goal less than five minutes later allowed the Atlantic Division champions to play with a comfortable lead that survived Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 6-on-5 goal with 3:02 remaining.Vasilevskiy was a big part of holding on to the lead as he made seven saves on the penalty kill as part of a bounce-back performance after being criticized for his play earlier in the series. It wasn’t perfect, but the Lightning began to make it up to Vasilevskiy for hanging him out to dry on so many odd-man rushes in Games 1 and 2 by improving their defensive-zone play.”We always feel like we owe him,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. ”He’s our best player. He’s always there Winnipeg Jets Hats Authentic , he’s always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him. I think that gives him some confidence, too, that he knows we’re on and that’s the way it should be.”The Capitals outshot the Lightning 38-23 but didn’t help goaltender Braden Holtby with six minor penalties. Holtby allowed four goals but was helpless on the one-timers on the power play by Stamkos and Kucherov – the 10th and 11th Tampa Bay power-play goals over a streak of seven games with at least one.”We know both teams have pretty good special teams, and if we’re going to play like that, they’re going to use it,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who combined with Kuznetsov to put 21 shots on net. ”Obviously, you can see we didn’t score, they scored.”Tampa Bay got two injury scares in the third period when Stamkos hobbled off after taking a slap shot from teammate Braydon Coburn in the right knee and Tyler Johnson was cross-checked by Michal Kempny. Each returned minutes later.Sporting an ice pack on his right knee, Stamkos said it was just a stinger and that he was fine. He wants the Lightning to be feeling better but not too good still down 2-1.”We haven’t done anything yet,” Stamkos said. ”The goal is to win a championship, but you can’t look too far ahead. We’ve made it a series.”NOTES: C Lars Eller took three of Washington’s six penalties. … With his 10th career power-play goal, Stamkos tied Martin St. Louis for Tampa Bay’s playoff record. … Injured C Nicklas Backstrom (right hand) took part in the Capitals’ morning skate but missed his fourth consecutive game. Coach Barry Trotz continues to call Backstrom day-to-day. … Trotz set a franchise record by coaching his 54th playoff game with Washington.—
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