Lightning's Hedman not blaming injuries for postseason struggles
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Victor Hedman is taking full responsibility for his role in the Tampa Bay Lightning's shocking first-round exit despite battling injury.

The 28-year-old blue-liner suited up for the first two contests of his team's series against the Columbus Blue Jackets and played significant minutes in both, logging 25:18 in Game 1 and 21:10 in Game 2. Despite the valiant effort, Hedman was unable to continue past those tilts.

"I was cleared to play in the first two games but I just wasn't good enough to keep going," the 6-foot-6 rearguard told reporters at the team's exit interviews Monday.

Hedman missed the final four games of the regular season with an upper-body injury after colliding awkwardly with Washington Capitals forward Carl Hagelin on March 30. Hedman said he was dealing with an upper-body ailment during the playoffs but added it wasn't related to that regular-season issue.

"I'm obviously not happy with how I played in those two games and I'm not going to sit here and (make) any excuses that it was because of (the injury)," he said. "It was all on me. I'm not happy with the way I played and that's obviously a tough one to swallow."

The Lightning became the first team in the modern era to win the Presidents' Trophy as the league's top regular-season squad and then be swept in four games in the first round of the playoffs.

Hedman is a finalist for the Norris Trophy for a third consecutive season and looks to defend his title as the league's top defenseman after capturing the award for the first time in his career in 2018.

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Lightning's Hedman not blaming injuries for postseason struggles
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