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Kucherov, 'Triplets' get Lightning going in Game 2

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 11:29 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments Staff

Already trailing 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning were staring at a 2-1 deficit in the second period of Game 2 after the Chicago Blackhawks scored twice in 2:16. Tampa Bay faced a similar situation to Game 1, when it allowed two goals in 1:58 of the third period that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 loss.

The threat of having to travel to Chicago down 2-0 in the best-of-7 series hanging over their heads, the Lightning took 92 seconds to respond, and it was a member of their famed "Triplets" line that got them going en route to a 4-3 victory.

After combining for 55 points in 21 games, the Triplets had three goals and eight points in their previous five with Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat combining for two shots in Game 1 on Wednesday. The line scored twice in Game 2, starting with Kucherov's deflection of defenseman Jason Garrison's shot that tied the game at 6:52 of the second period.

Harvard graduate Killorn making impact with Lightning

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 10:46 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- Matt Killorn didn't know if it was possible, if his son Alex could do both. He hoped he could, but he also worried that having him concentrate so much on getting his education would destroy his dream to play in the NHL.

"I remember having the discussions with my wife, because she's a teacher by profession, and she was really advocating strongly the school route, which was obviously the right choice," Matt Killorn said. "But there was always a piece of me thinking, 'Is this really the right path?' There were a lot of people who told us that if you choose Harvard you're kind of saying no to professional hockey, because at that time Harvard wasn't really considered a strong hockey school."

Alex Killorn figured out a way to do both. Successfully. In the most demanding environments.

He graduated Harvard University with a degree in political science and a 3.5 grade-point average in 2012. Now he's a left wing playing top-six minutes on a line with Steven Stamkos for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, which is tied 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Monday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Lightning's 'Triplets' line breaks out in Game 2

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 10:20 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he was never concerned about "The Triplets" line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov failing to keep up the pace they have set throughout much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cooper said the line could break out at any minute.

Cooper was proven right in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Saturday. The Triplets combined for two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Johnson scored his 13th goal in the playoffs, a team record, and Tampa Bay tied the best-of-7 series at 1-1. Game 3 will be played at the United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"They've been outstanding from start to finish," Cooper said. "I don't think that everybody should be judged on your point totals. Correct me if I'm wrong, but [Johnson's] leading the League or darn close in scoring in the playoffs. You can't score every single night. It's really hard, unless your name's Gretzky."

Buffalo leaves lasting impression as Combine setting

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO – The NHL Scouting Combine was always a fixture in Toronto, but Buffalo hosted the event for the first time in 2015 and left a big impression on teams and players.

The Combine was held at First Niagara Center and the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo and allowed all the events from interviews to workouts to be held in its own space.

"I’m not sure you’re going to find a bad word," New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "I mean in terms of how this has been run and the Buffalo Sabres what they've done and now with this new facility, it's a great opportunity to show people what this is like. They put a lot of time and effort into this, and certainly money, but for the kids and the staff this whole week has been really, really good."

Desjardins: 'Pretty frustrated' losing goal hit his stick

Andrew Desjardins - Special to

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he explains what it felt like for the Lightning to win Game 2 on a shot that went in off his stick.

TAMPA -- It's not the outcome that we wanted, but I think there's a few good things that we can take out of it. Then we just have to prepare. It might be a long series, so we can't get too down. It's good to be angry a little bit that we didn't come out with the win, but take some stuff out of there and build for the next game.

We're going back to Chicago, going back home, so we just have to be prepared.

But some of the things I think we can build on is I thought our puck movement was a little bit better in Game 2 than it was in Game 1. I think we had a little bit more speed through the neutral zone. We got one on the power play, which is big. In the offensive zone we had a little bit more movement, kept pucks alive a little bit more, and I thought we got around the net. We got some more dangerous shots around the net, and in the first game I didn't think there was too much around the net; we didn't create very much.

Unfortunately, I played a part on the game-winning goal by Jason Garrison, and it was just so frustrating to watch that puck go in the net. But that's hockey.

Garrison: Good to contribute to a victory

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 12:55 AM / Player's Blog with the Lightning's Jason Garrison

Jason Garrison - Special to

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he talks about scoring the winning goal in the Lightning's 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2.

TAMPA -- I don't want to make this any bigger than it is, so I'll just say that scoring a game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final feels good and leave it at that. What feels better, great in fact, is that I was able to get some production to contribute for a win.

As a defenseman you're trying to not get scored against. But whenever you can help out, those are usually big goals. It takes pressure off the forwards. To add that extra one, it seems to help in a game, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I was just fortunate enough to get a good screen, a good deflection, and sometimes when you put pucks on net they tend to find a way. Really it's just a lot of puck luck. I'll take it, but mainly because it helped to get us a win so we could even this series.

Crawford, Sharp accept blame for Blackhawks loss

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 12:42 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and forward Patrick Sharp each wanted to assume some blame Saturday following a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena.

Crawford was not happy with either of the two goals he allowed in the second period, and the Lightning scored the game-winning goal on the second of back-to-back penalties by Sharp in the third.

"It's frustrating. I felt good, but it's not good enough," Crawford said. "Especially when we get momentum, we score a big goal on the power play (to go up 2-1), and they come back with those two. We showed character again, we almost came back, we tied it. Tough bounce on their power-play goal, but it was close. We came back, it was close. I can't let that happen again."

Vasilevskiy steps in for Bishop, leads Lightning to win

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 12:37 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

TAMPA -- Andrei Vasilevskiy has had a few dreams about winning his first game in the Stanley Cup Final, but it is unlikely that even the wildest of those resembled what transpired Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Vasilevskiy, who twice replaced starter Ben Bishop for undisclosed reasons in the third period of Game 2, became the first goalie in 24 years to win a Final game in relief when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 2 to even the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

He also became the first goalie to earn his first career playoff win in relief in the Final since Lester Patrick, then the coach of the New York Rangers, did so in 1928.

Blackhawks hope to get Toews, Kane going in Game 3

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 12:18 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- Two games almost never feels like an eternity, but it can when you're in the Stanley Cup Final.

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, in an attempt to get his top two offensive players going, began the third period of Game 2 of the Final on Saturday with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane split up, the way they were most of the season.

At the time, neither Toews nor Kane had registered a point in the series.

The result of the switch was almost immediately positive. The final overall result, however, was not.

Toews set up Brent Seabrook for a goal at 3:38 of the third period that tied the game 3-3 for his first point of the series, but Jason Garrison put the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead 4-3 five minutes later, and that proved to be the winning goal, tying the series 1-1 heading into Game 3 in Chicago on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It is something we saw coming," Toews said of the line change. "I think we had a lot of puck possession, but I don't think we quite got to the inside as much early in the game. [Marian Hossa] jumps on our line, and we finally score. Sometimes a quick change like that will make things click. If you keep working for offense, we know it is going to come."

Lightning answer challenge, as usual, in Game 2

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 12:06 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- This is what the Tampa Bay Lightning do.

They fight back. They respond. They answer all the questions after a Game 1 loss about if they're good enough, strong enough, and most important, experienced enough. They do all of it while keeping an air of confidence that suggests cockiness but isn't. It's more swagger than anything else, and it comes from their extremely positive and somewhat brash coach.

They do it all, and then they go out and win Game 2 as if they knew they were going to all along, as if they planned it this way.

It happened in the Eastern Conference First Round. It happened in the conference final. It happened again on the NHL's biggest stage Saturday.

The Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 at Amalie Arena to improve to 4-0 with 21 goals in Game 2s in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. More important, they tied the Stanley Cup Final at 1-1.

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