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Best of the Bolts: The championship

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Voting in the championship round starts at noon on September 2 and ends at noon on September 5. You can vote as many times as you'd like.


The New York Islanders held a lead three separate times against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Barclays Center in Game 3 of their second round playoff series.

The Lightning had a response each time.

None, however, was as dramatic as Nikita Kucherov’s late-game equalizer with the Lightning net empty.

Tampa Bay was down to its last 50 seconds, the Isles clinging to a 4-3 lead as the Lightning brought on an extra attacker. The puck swung around the point to Jonathan Drouin, who maneuvered into the left circle while Kucherov skated into the slot. Drouin hit him with a pass, and Kucherov beat Thomas Greiss to the goalie’s stick side to tie the game 4-4 with 38.4 seconds to go.

The Lightning would need just 2:48 to win Game 3 in overtime.

The game-winner would have never happened though if not for Kucherov coming to the rescue.

And who knows how the series would have played out had the Islanders held on for the victory in Game 3.


Alex Killorn has a knack for rising to the occasion.

The higher the stakes, the greater Killorn’s impact.

Last season, the 26-year-old forward delivered the winning goal in Game 7 against the Rangers to clinch the Eastern Conference crown and a spot in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

And who could forget his wonder goal in the opening game of the SCF when he tipped a shot down onto the ice with his backhand, bouncing it past Corey Crawford for the first goal of the series.

In 2016, Killorn continued to save his best for when it counted most.

With a chance to close out the Detroit Red Wings on home ice in Game 5 of a first round series, the Lightning labored to find a way to get a puck past Petr Mrazek. Through 58 minutes, neither team had been able to score.

Mrazek misplayed a puck behind his goal in the closing seconds, however, and the Lightning capitalized. Ryan Callahan grabbed possession, and Killorn went to an open area of the net.

Callahan passed.

Killorn backhanded.

The Lightning scored.

And the Red Wings were finished, for the second year in a row, at the hands of the Lightning.

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