Can the Lightning win without their captain, Steven Stamkos? Yes, yes they can. Alex Killorn scored 8:52 in the third period to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals.
Tampa Bay now takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, Game 2 is on Friday.
Killorn tipped the puck past Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard after Tyler Johnson sent it to the net from outside the slot. Nikita Kucherov set up the play by winning a loose puck behind the net.
“You want to win the first game, especially at home, and that’s what we talked about,” Killorn said. “If you don’t win the first one, it’s such an uphill battle and it makes the series that much tougher. We knew it was going to be a physical game.”
Kucherov had a pair of goals, and Ben Bishop made 34 saves for the Lightning, who defeated the Red Wings in a seven-game first-round series last season.
Mike Green and Justin Abdelkader scored for the Wings, Jimmy Howard made 31 saves. Green had a chance to tie the game with less than a minute remaining in the third period when he controlled a loose puck in front of the net but his shot went over the net.
“I thought we had lots of moments of momentum and lots of moments of good hockey,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We had some chances there at the end to tie it. At the end it was a tight game and we had an opportunity to [win] and we didn’t do it.”
6:23 / 1st : N. Kucherov (1) from T. Johnson (1), A. Killorn (1)
9:29 / 2nd : N. Kucherov (2) from B. Coburn (1), N. Nesterov (1)
8:52 / 3rd : A. Killorn (1) from T. Johnson (2), N. Kucherov (1)
2:11 / 2nd : M. Green (1) from D. Dekeyser (1), T. Tatar (1)
4:07 / 2nd : J. Abdelkader (1) from K. Quincey (1)
Nikita Kucherov is ‘elite’
Nikita Kucherov is elite. His growth over these past two seasons is extraordinary. Kucherov is definitely stepping his game up at the right time. Steven Stamkos being down to injury is not so much a problem, when you have this guy scoring goals night-in-night-out. They need to lock him up long-term, cause he is the future.
“The coaches show me a lot of videos of guys playing,” Kucherov said. “I watch myself, [Patrick] Kane, and [Alex] Ovechkin and how they score goals. All they do is just shoot the puck, and that is what I am trying to do, just shoot and the goals will come. If you don’t shoot you won’t score.”
Was a tight game all throughout, with both teams battling hard to get the win. The line combination of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov helped lead the Lightning, who are without their captain Steven Stamkos, to a victory on Wednesday night over the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard got the start in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which came as a bit of a surprise. Petr Mrazek was pretty much the clear-cut starter toward the end of the regular season, so it was odd to see Howard get the first start in the playoffs. Mike Green had a chance to tie the game late in the 3rd, after controlling a loose puck in front of the net, but shot it over the net. Tampa Bay has a 1-0 series lead, which could be stretched to 2-0, if they can pull another win out of Amalie Arena on Friday night.