Players from the Tampa Bay Lightning would have been the first to tell you that they started Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final flat. Late in the first period they surrendered the opening goal to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and midway through the first frame they trailed 2-0 in Sunday’s game.
With less than seven minutes left, however, the Lightning found their first goal of the contest, and it came on an absolutely gorgeous shot by winger Alex Killorn on what appeared to be a nothing play.
Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr won a board battle on the half wall of the Penguins’ zone and, with seemingly no offensive options, he simply played it in behind the Pittsburgh goal. His pass ricocheted off the back wall and around the left wing boards onto the tape of Killorn, who picked up the puck, took a look towards the goal and fired a seeing-eye shot that found the mere inches of daylight over the shoulder of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. It might be the most perfect shot of the post-season:
Killorn’s goal, his fifth of the post-season, was a huge one in Sunday’s game. Not only did it potentially shake the confidence of Fleury, who hadn’t started a game in nearly two months before Game 5, but it ignited a Lightning offense that hadn’t been able to beat the veteran netminder in more than 50 minutes of action beginning in Game 4.
It wasn’t the first time Killorn had come up big this post-season. Through 15 games, he has two game-winning goals, which is only one shy of his regular season total, and the Lightning winger is now only five points shy of tying his career-high for playoff points in 11 fewer games.
After Killorn’s goal, Nikita Kucherov would notch a game-tying tally 1:10 later and he would score again with 3:16 left in the contest to knot the game at three and send Game 5 to overtime. It took only 53 seconds for the Lightning to end Game 5, as Tyler Johnson tipped home a Jason Garrison shot to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 overtime victory and 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference final.