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Kucherov, 'Triplets' get Lightning going in Game 2

by 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.

"That was a good job from Garrison to get the puck through and I just tipped it," Kucherov said. "I don't know if [Blackhawks goalie Corey] Crawford saw it or not."

Led by Kucherov's goal and assist, the Triplets combined for three points, including Johnson's goal at 13:58 of the second that gave the Lightning the lead and momentum entering Game 3 at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We're learning the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the job," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I think what happened to us the other night was a lesson learned. It's the first time that it happened to us in the playoffs. So what are we going to do about that? Put in that position again, what do you do?

"That position happened midway through the game when we had the 1-0 lead. There go the two quick goals, it's 2-1. Our guys wouldn't be denied. There was a fire on that bench when that happened. There wasn't panic, it was [anger]. You got to love that in your team, that in 72 short hours, we're coming back."

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