When coaches tell players to put pucks to the net, it’s usually with the hope the puck will take a friendly bounce and find the back of the net, or the shot creates a rebound that leads to a scoring chance. But when Lightning center Tyler Johnson threw the puck at Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard Wednesday night, what he then saw was teammate Alex Killorn smacking the puck out of mid-air for the game-winning goal.
Midway through the third period with Tampa Bay and Detroit locked at two goals apiece, Johnson managed to come up with a loose puck only a few feet from the right wing corner in the Detroit zone. With his head down, Johnson simply flung the puck towards Howard only to see a charging Killorn locate the puck in time to bat it home. If the goal sounds unorthodox, that’s because it was. Check it out:
While that’s probably not the type of play you expected from the 6-foot-2, nearly 200-pound Killorn, keep in mind that this is the same guy who opened the scoring in last season’s Stanley Cup final with a bizarre showcase of hand-eye coordination when he used his backhand on a fluttering puck.
His game-winner in Game 1 was Killorn’s second point on the night after he picked up an assist on Nikita Kucherov’s game-opening goal. And as surprising as it may be to some, Killorn continues to be an impressive playoff performer for the Lightning.
In his 191 game regular season career, Killorn has 39 goals and 98 points which are respectable totals for the 26-year-old. In the post-season, though, he has had a knack for finding the score sheet. Wednesday’s two-point game gives him 22 points in 31 games, which is an improvement of roughly one-fifth of a point per game over his regular season totals. The Lightning will take that every day of the week.