WASHINGTON (AP) Nicklas Backstrom did so well on faceoffs with an injured hand he even surprised himself.”It’s the playoffs Frederik Andersen Jersey ,” Backstrom said after the Washington Capitals‘ 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night that evened the Eastern Conference final at two games apiece. ”You’ve just got to grind. It felt good on the first couple faceoffs, so I just kept taking them.”Returning from a four-game absence with a right hand injury, Backstrom won six of nine faceoffs and looked more like himself as the night wore on. With Game 5 looming Saturday night at Tampa Bay, Backstrom’s improvement is one of the keys to Washington bouncing back from consecutive home losses.”I should get back to normal,” Backstrom said after playing 18:51 night in his return. ”I feel really good. I don’t know (how normal) exactly. If I didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t play. The doctors wouldn’t let me play, either.”Team doctors cleared Backstrom to play around lunchtime Womens Jake Gardiner Jersey , and by pregame warmups he was drawing an ovation from fans thrilled to see him back in the lineup. The crowd roared when Backstrom won the faceoff on his first shift, and he got back into a rhythm centering the third line.”It was so fun to be back out there,” Backstrom said. ”It’s where everyone wants to be. You want to be on the ice. It’s just too bad we didn’t get the win.”A hard-luck loss included two penalties by fill-in No. 2 center Lars Eller, who has five in the past two games. Coach Barry Trotz didn’t mess with his top two lines, but Backstrom could easily be promoted to skate with Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie in Game 5.”We’re going to need him pushing forward, especially now that he has a game under him,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. ”He’ll take on more minutes and a bigger role. You could tell as the game went on he was getting more and more comfortable Tyler Graovac Jersey Womens , so he’s going to be a much-needed asset for us in these next few games, for sure.”Backstrom appears ready to do that. The 30-year-old Swedish center hadn’t played since taking a slap shot from Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz on May 5, but if it were up to him, he would have been back much sooner.”Nick has been champing at the bit for a while now,” said Trotz, lauding Backstrom’s game. ”We’ve been holding him back a little bit, but he’s ready to go.”Even on a team featuring Alex Ovechkin Youth John Tavares Jersey , the Capitals have gone how Backstrom has gone for the better part of a decade. He’s the second-longest-tenured player on the team, and this was his first career game in the conference finals.”As a hockey player, you want to play,” Backstrom said. ”It feels nice to be back.”— RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Thomas Greiss stopped 45 shots for his first shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday night.Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares scored to help the Islanders move past the Hurricanes into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Greiss got his eighth career shutout one night after Jaroslav Halak had 50 saves in a 3-0 home win over the crosstown Rangers.Cam Ward finished with 20 saves for the Hurricanes. They lost their second straight and fell into a tie with Columbus Authentic Mitchell Marner Jersey , a point behind the Islanders for the conference’s last playoff spot.Article continues below ...JETS 6, AVALANCHE 1WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Blake Wheeler had two goals and an assist and Mark Scheifele had three assists in Winnipeg’s victory over Colorado.Wheeler ended a 15-game goal drought and Scheifele now has seven points in his last three games.Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg, which is 5-2-1 during its 10-game homestand. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers each had two assists. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his 30th win of the season, allowing only Mikko Rantanen’s third-period goal.STARS 2 Morgan Rielly Jersey , BLUES 1DALLAS (AP) – Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots and Dallas beat St. Louis to move past the Blues into third place in the Central Division.Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns scored for Dallas. The Stars had a season-low 16 shots on goal while winning for the sixth time in seven games. Brayden Schenn spoiled Bishop’s shutout bid with a power-play goal with 1:14 remaining.FLYERS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1, OTCOLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Sean Couturier scored 1:52 into overtime and Philadelphia ended an 11-game losing streak in Columbus.Wayne Simmonds also scored for Philadelphia, and Michael Neuvirth – filling in for the injured Brian Elliott – stopped 35 shots to pick up his eighth win of the season. The Flyers‘ streak on the Blue Jackets‘ home ice dated to 2005. Cam Atkinson tied it for Columbus late in the third period.