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Lightning strike first against Red Wings

Kucherov scores twice, assists on Killorn's goal in Game 1 win

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Alex Killorn scored 8:52 into the third period to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

Tampa Bay has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series with Game 2 here Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, FS-D, FS-F, CBC, TVA Sports).

Killorn tipped the puck past Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard after Tyler Johnson sent it to the net from outside of the slot. Nikita Kucherov set up the play by winning a loose puck behind the net.

Video: DET@TBL, Gm1: Killorn's midair goal puts Bolts ahead

"You want to win the first game, especially at home, and that's what we talked about," Killorn said. "If you don't win the first one, it's such an uphill battle and it makes the series that much tougher. We knew it was going to be a physical game."

Kucherov scored twice, and Ben Bishop made 34 saves for Tampa Bay, which defeated Detroit in a seven-game first-round series last season.

Mike Green and Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit, and Howard made 31 saves. Green had a chance to tie the game with less than a minute remaining in the third period when he controlled a loose puck in front of the net but his shot went over the net.

"I thought we had lots of moments of momentum and lots of moments of good hockey," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We had some chances there at the end to tie it. At the end it was a tight game and we had an opportunity to [win] and we didn't do it."

Kucherov's first goal came at 6:23 of the first period. Killorn found Johnson with an outlet pass and Johnson set up Kucherov with a one-timer from the right circle that beat Howard.

Video: DET@TBL, Gm1: Johnson sets up Kucherov's one-timer

Detroit changed the momentum by scoring two goals in a 1:56 span early in the second period.

"It was a hard-fought game, lot of back and forth," Howard said. "Both teams did a great job of getting to the net, and that's what playoff hockey is all about. We did a good job [Wednesday], but it's the playoffs."

Green tied the game 1-1 at 2:11 with a shot above the right circle that got past Bishop on the stick side after Darren Helm provided the screen. Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar had the assists.

"I think we had a pretty good net presence most of the night," Blashill said. "And we're going to continue to need that net presence. I just don't think you score in the League without net presence."

Video: DET@TBL, Gm1: Abdelkader tips home Quincey's shot

Abdelkader gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead at 4:07 after he redirected a shot from Kyle Quincey from above the right circle.

"It was a good game, not a lot of room, a lot of battling," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "After they got the first one I thought we hung in there and we played well. They kept the puck in our end a little too much in the final seven minutes."

Kucherov tied the game 2-2 at 9:29 of the second when he scored on a rebound after Braydon Coburn shot to the net from the point. Nikita Nesterov got the second assist.

"The coaches show me a lot of videos of guys playing," Kucherov said. "I watch myself, [Patrick] Kane, and [Alex] Ovechkin and how they score goals. All they do is just shoot the puck, and that is what I am trying to do, just shoot and the goals will come. If you don't shoot you won't score."

Video: DET@TBL, Gm1: Kucherov's second goal ties the game

Victor Hedman appeared to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead at 6:55 of the third period, but Detroit challenged the play and Jonathan Drouin was called offside. The NHL installed new cameras at the blue lines for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to aid the officials on offside calls.

Howard said he wasn't aware of the call, but Blashill said center Brad Richards had one of the first reactions from the bench.

"I just saw the 3-on-2 developing, and then I saw Hedman jumping up into the play," Howard said. "I wasn't aware that it was offsides, tough for me to tell from my angle. [Valtteri] Filppula just put it right in his wheelhouse."

Hedman said the Lightning responded well after the overturned goal and kept applying pressure that eventually led to the game-winner.

"It was probably the best shot I've had in a while," Hedman said. "But that's the rule and it is what it is. It was a still a tight game and we stayed at it. [Killorn] got the net and put one in. Overall that line was a game-changer and we've got to keep that going."

Video: Kucherov sparks Bolts to win over Red Wings in Game 1

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