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Lightning uses length among defensemen to deny Penguins

PITTSBURGH — You could hear Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness yell throughout Sunday's practice at the Consol Energy Center.

"Active sticks!"

One key in the Lightning's 3-1 win Friday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final was its defensemen's ability to use their sticks — and long reach — to thwart the Penguins.

Tampa Bay has a big blueline: Victor Hedman is 6 feet 6, Andrej Sustr 6-7 and Braydon Coburn 6-5, and they used all of that size to deny passing lanes, time and space from Sidney Crosby & Co.

Coburn said having active sticks helps.

"Well, they obviously have long reaches and good sticks, and so I think we've got to try to play behind them, force them to pivot, have to go back for pucks," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Sometimes, if we play in front of them, maybe we play into their hands, allow them to use their reach and their stick to their advantage."

Contact Joe Smith at Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning uses length among defensemen to deny Penguins 05/16/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2016 10:58pm]
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