Killorn's late goal lifts Lightning over Red Wings 1-0
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Ben Bishop refused to crack.
Tampa Bay's Vezina Trophy candidate stopped 34 shots, Alex Killorn scored with less than two minutes remaining and the Lightning advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Bishop used all of his 6-foot-7 frame, even making one third-period save with his mask, to repeatedly deny the Red Wings and post his fourth career playoff shutout.
''I just wanted to find a way to win, the guys have done a good job scoring goals all series for me. ... It was my turn tonight,'' Bishop said. ''I just had to keep them out of the net.''
Killorn's second winning goal of the series was set up by Ryan Callahan, who retrieved goalie Petr Mrazek's bad pass behind the Detroit net and centered the puck in the crease for Killorn's backhander at 18:17 of the third. Killorn also provided the winner in Game 1.
''It was a play where Mrazek makes a goalie play and Callahan kind of jumped him. Once I saw that Mrazek was out of his net, I was trying to gain position and go to the net knowing that if Callahan could get it to me I could probably put it in,'' Killorn said.
''It's a great feeling. We battled so hard for those two periods and there were periods where Bishop kept us in it. To get the winning goal with under two minutes left was huge because I think they did outplay us at instances in that game.''
Tampa Bay eliminated the Red Wings in the first round for the second straight year, advancing to a second-round matchup against either the Florida Panthers or New York Islanders, whose opening-round series is tied 2-2.
Detroit pushed the defending Eastern Conference champions to seven games a year ago, but could only beat them once in five attempts this time, with Killorn, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov picking up the offensive slack for Tampa Bay with star Steven Stamkos injured.
''It is always hard losing a game like that. ... That kind of goal is frustrating,'' Mrazek said. ''We had lots of chances to finish it earlier. We just couldn't score.''
Detroit only scored eight goals in the series, though not because of a lack of opportunities.
The Red Wings finished 1 for 25 on the power play, and their futility was never more evident than Thursday night, when they failed to even get a shot on goal during a 5-on-3 advantage early in the opening period.
The closest they came during that first power-play was Pavel Datsyuk hitting the post. The Lightning was fortunate again late in the period, when Detroit's Danny Dekeyser also hit the post before the puck glanced off Bishop's right arm.
Just as frustrating was an inability to solve Bishop in the second period, when the Tampa Bay goalie rejected Riley Sheahan, Darren Helm and Dylan Larkin on breakaways that could have snapped a scoreless tie.
Bishop sopped 14 shots in the second and 11 more in the third, two in the closing seconds with Detroit on its fourth power play of the night. Mrazek wasn't tested as often but his teammates played a hand in that by limiting the line of Johnson, Kucherov and Killorn to a combined two shots heading into the final period.
Mrazek, who replaced Jimmy Howard after the Red Wings lost the first two games of the series on the road, finished with 23 saves. He won Game 3 in Detroit 2-0 - his third career playoff shutout - all against the Lightning - but contributed to his own demise this time when he went behind the net but failed to clear the puck.
''You find out a lot about your character when you are in situations like this, down 3-1 on the road,'' Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. ''I just thought we kept coming and coming and coming. ... I thought we played well enough to win. Unfortunately, we didn't.''
Notes: Datsyuk, who may have played his final NHL game, said he'll take a couple of days to ponder his future. He said before the playoffs began that he planned spend time with his teenage daughter and play in Russia. ... Bishop has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 11 playoff starts, dating to last season. ... Detroit has trailed 3-1 in a playoff series 21 times, but only rallied to win twice - in the first round vs. Toronto in 1987 and vs. the Minnesota North Stars in 1992. ... Earlier Thursday, the Red Wings assigned D Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, which begins a first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday night.