A late goal by Alex Killorn off a Ryan Callahan forecheck gave the Tampa Bay Lightning the victory and finished off the Detroit Red Wings in five games. The Lightning move ahead to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and face the winner of the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders series.
Callahan picked up the puck behind the net as Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek went to play it around the boards. He then found Killorn in front who cashed in on the play to put the game at 1-0. The goal was scored with just 1:43 left in the third period.
The Lightning then held on, killing off a Jason Garrison crosscheck in the final minute to become the first team to advance in the playoffs. Killorn’s goal stood as the game-winner in the 1-0 victory.
“Callahan kind of jumped him,” Killorn said to the press. “And once I saw that Mrazek was out of his net, I was trying to gain position in front, knowing that if Callahan could get it to me, I could probably put it in.”
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said that “(Callahan) was a major contributor. He’s been unreal. It’s weird that their goalie kind of fanned on the puck, but if Callahan is not on it and Killorn doesn’t go to the net, it doesn’t happen.”
Tampa beat the Red Wings despite nursing several injuries. Captain Steven Stamkos has been out since early April with a blood clot near his neck. Top pairing defenseman Anton Stralman has been out since late March with a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula.
Forward Tyler Johnson played a series low 14:20 and just three shifts in the second period in Game 5.
Tampa took Detroit’s physical approach and continued to move forward.
In a Game 2 Tampa win, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader pummeled Tampa forward Mike Blunden. Tampa then won two of the next three games to win the series.
The Lightning’s top line of Johnson (seven points), Nikita Kucherov (eight points) and Killorn (three goals) led the way in Round 1 and proved the difference.
Goaltender Ben Bishop came up big in the clinching situation stopping 34 of 34 shots on goal. He finished the round with a 1.61 goal-against average and .950 save percentage.
The Red Wings’ power play was woeful, going just 1-for-25 in the series. Their 4.0 power play percentage is the worst in the playoffs.
“Extremely frustrating, I thought our guys played really well and couldn’t find a way to get the puck in the back of the net,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we kept coming and coming, and it speaks of the character and leadership of the whole room. I thought we played well enough to win, but obviously we didn’t.”