TAMPA — Alex Killorn did not play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday against the Canadiens, but Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Thursday the forward will travel with the team to Montreal for Games 3-4.
Cooper did not say whether Killorn will play Friday in Game 3, but the fact he’s making the trip is a good sign.
Killorn’s absence left a hole on the second line, forcing veteran forward Tyler Johnson to move up from the fourth line and Mathieu Joseph to draw into the lineup for the first time since May 20 against the Panthers.
Joseph, who skated 6 minutes, 23 seconds in Game 2, had four hits and one shot on goal in his first career Cup final game.
The Lightning also had to make adjustments on special teams, as Killorn contributes on both the power play and penalty kill. Yanni Gourde saw some time with the second penalty-kill unit, while Anthony Cirelli moved up to play on the top power play.
Killorn’s absence was notable, even with the team’s winning 3-1 over the Canadiens. But Cooper said he isn’t worried about his team, calling it a work in progress without one of its “bigger pieces to the puzzle.”
“Cirelli’s line scored our first goal and the special teams were fine for the most part,” Cooper said. “We got through that long four-on-three (penalty) and a five-on-four (penalty) between the end (of the second period) and starting the (third) period, so that was big for us and, so far, so good. But it’s still a work in progress.”
Wednesday marked the first game Killorn has missed since Game 3 of last season’s Eastern Conference final against the Islanders. Killorn was suspended for a boarding hit on New York’s Brock Nelson in the previous game.
The last time Killorn missed play due to injury was Nov. 30, 2019 against Carolina and Dec. 3, 2019 against Nashville. Killorn had a lower-body injury at the time.
Killorn blocked a shot from Montreal’s Jeff Petry in the second period of Game 1 on Monday. The puck made contact with Killorn’s left leg, and he played only three more shifts totaling 1:58 the rest of the period and just one 23-second shift in the third.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Killorn averaged 17:32 of ice time this postseason, third-highest among Lightning forwards, behind Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov.
Killorn has eight goals and nine assists in 19 games this postseason, and his 17 points are fourth-most on the team behind Kucherov (30), Point (23) and Steven Stamkos (18).
Who: Lightning at Canadiens, Game 3
When: Friday at 8 p.m.
Where: Montreal, Quebec, at the Bell Centre
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