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Going streaking: Lightning make history by winning ninth consecutive game

by Bryan Burns / Tampa Bay Lightning

His name will forever be an answer to a Tampa Bay Lightning trivia question.

Which Lightning player scored the overtime goal on March 5, 2016, versus Carolina to give the Bolts their franchise-record ninth win in a row?

Alex Killorn

The Halifax, Nova Scotia, native cemented himself in Lightning lore as well as his team when he carried the puck from his own goal line to the opposite end of the ice in the extra session, saw he could get a step on Hurricanes forward Joakim Nordstrom, wheeled around Nordstrom, cut to the front of the net, baited Canes goalie Eddie Lack to his knees and sent the puck over Lack and into the back of the net, a magnificent individual play to break a 12-year-old record.

“I was trying to figure out how to make a play,” Killorn said following the game.

Instead, he figured out how to make history.

The Lightning won their ninth-straight game courtesy of Killorn’s game-winner, establishing a new franchise mark for consecutive wins. The previous record (8) was set during the 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship season (February 23-March 6, 2004).

“I think it was something that was really important to us,” Killorn said. “We worked pretty hard, and whenever you can break a record, especially the team that last did it was the team that won the Stanley Cup, it’s nice.”

The winning run started, ironically enough, out of near disaster. On February 18, having lost its two previous games, Tampa Bay surrendered a 4-1, third-period lead at home to the Winnipeg Jets, the last-place team in the Central Division. Winnipeg scored four-consecutive goals to go up 5-4, but Nikita Kucherov averted disaster by scoring unassisted with 4:56 remaining in regulation to level the score 5-5. The Bolts prevailed in a shootout, Steven Stamkos converting in the fifth round.

The Lightning held a meeting in the locker room after that performance. It wasn’t to celebrate the come-back win.

“That wasn’t good enough the way we played in that game,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “If you have a 4-1 lead and you blow it in one period, something isn’t right. That was a good meeting that we had. We held each other accountable. That’s how it has to be and that’s why I think we have a lot of success; we’re honest with each other, we play our hearts out and everyone sacrifices himself for each one.”

The Lightning followed up with road victories in back-to-backs with Pittsburgh and Carolina, the win over the Penguins the Bolts’ first in the regular season in the Steel City since 2010, snapping a nine-game losing streak there.

Tampa Bay returned home for one game – a 2-1 victory over Arizona – before hitting the road for four more, with three games coming in a four-day span.

The Lightning took all four, allowing only three goals combined to defeat New Jersey, Boston, Toronto and Ottawa, the first time in team history the Bolts swept a road trip of four or more games.

Back at Amalie Arena two days after the Ottawa victory, Killorn’s heroics secured win No. 9.

“It’s cool to break the record. It’s awesome,” Lightning center Tyler Johnson said. “You’re part of the team that can do that, it’s obviously pretty special.”

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