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NHL - US Sports: Hedman expects Lightning to be at their best

Defenceman Victor Hedman believes the Tampa Bay Lightning will be at their very best as they attempt to eliminate the New York Rangers and win the Eastern Conference on home ice on Saturday.

The Lightning have won three consecutive games to go 3-2 up in the best-of-seven series and put them one win away from the Stanley Cup Final, which they are 2/11 to reach.

History bid

If they were to be successful, the Lightning would set up a meeting with the Colorado Avalanche and they are available at 19/10 to go on and three-peat as Stanley Cup Champions.

A win for Tampa Bay would also extend their remarkable run of consecutive playoff series wins to 11 and offer them to the chance to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons since the New York Islanders won four straight championships from 1980-83.

The Lightning are 6-1-0 at home in the playoffs and the Rangers 2-7-0 on the road. New York, though, has gone 5-0 in elimination games.

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The 31-year-old Hedman has played a pivotal role in the Lightning's success this season so far, scoring 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 16 playoff games.

During Tampa's 2019/20 championship run, the Swede scored an impressive 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 25 games and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

No relying on home comforts

Last season he had 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 23 games as the Lightning made it back-to-back Stanley Cup wins.

Hedman said to the media: "We expect their best game of the playoffs, but we expect ourselves to be at that level too. We've been successful when we've had the opportunity to eliminate teams, and now we have the chance again going back home.

"But we're not going to hang our hat that we're going home. We've got to execute like we have in previous games."

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