The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't acquire defenseman Braydon Coburn prior to the NHL Trade Deadline for his offensive prowess. But on a night when their stars couldn't dent Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, it was Coburn that solved him and lifted the Lightning into the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Coburn, who had one goal in 43 regular-season games, picked the precise time to strike when he one-timed Ryan Callahan's feed past Mrazek at 3:58 of the third period to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-0 win in Game 7. The Lightning rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the best-of-7 series to eliminate the Red Wings and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the second round beginning with Game 1 Friday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
The goal, Coburn's lone shot in 21 shifts, was his second Game 7 goal. He had gone 28 straight playoff games without scoring and had one goal in his previous 74.
"I was just trying to get it on net," Coburn told the Tampa Tribune. "It's special for sure. The puck flipped up on me and knuckle-balled in there."
The Lightning acquired Coburn, 30, from the Philadelphia Flyers on March 2 for defenseman Radko Gudas and first- and third-round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. He was limited to 43 games during the regular season with foot injuries and missed the final 14 because of a lower-body injury. He was active upon his return in Game 1 with seven shots on goal but was relatively quiet until Callahan's pass landed on his stick and he fired that knuckler past Mrazek.
A solid defender, Coburn gave the Lightning the lift they needed offensively and validation for the trade that brought him to the Sunshine State.
"I probably shouldn't say this, but when that goal went in, I thought, 'Wow, what a hell of a trade,'" Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "First thought."