TAMPA — Victor Hedman knows Boone Jenner’s pain.
In the Lightning’s 3-2 win over Columbus Thursday, Hedman made what might have been a game-saving defensive play on Jenner, one of several chances the Blue Jackets forward would surely like to have back.
With the game tied at 1 in the second period, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was splayed across the ice after making one of his 36 saves, and Jenner found the puck on his stick with an open net in front of him. It seemed like an easy rebound goal.
But Jenner didn’t account for Hedman, who reached in to make a stick save from the opposite side of the net, his blade stopping the puck just before it was about to cross the goal line.
“I don’t know what to say,” Hedman said during a second-intermission interview on the Bally Sports Sun broadcast. “I got lucky, I guess. Vasy made a great save to start. I put my stick out there and hope it hits me, and it sure did.”
Interestingly, the same thing happened to Hedman during a 4-1 loss to Nashville on March 15. Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro provided some out-of-nowhere weakside help to stop what seemed to be a sure Hedman goal.
As he was crossing the end line, Hedman gathered a loose puck and tried to tuck it into an empty net behind Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. But Fabbro reached out and stuffed Hedman just in front of the goal line.
When asked about Hedman’s play following Thursday’s game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper was quick to point out the play in the Nashville game.
“The ironic thing about that is that it wasn’t that long ago in a game where that happened to him,” Cooper said. “He tucked it in behind the goalie and somebody cleared it out. It was a game of inches.”
For Jenner, it was just one of several missed opportunities. Besides Hedman’s stop, Jenner lifted a shot high on a 3-on-1 breakaway and was stoned by a Vasilevskiy pad save on a nice wraparound move.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.
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