Alex Killorn stepping up for Lightning
Few Lightning players saw their stars rise more in the playoffs than wing Alex Killorn.
Killorn, 26, delivered a breakout performance, with nine goals and nine assists, a force while playing alongside captain Steven Stamkos. Killorn even put himself on the radar for Team Canada's World Cup team, good timing considering he'll be a restricted free agent this summer.
But Killorn was pretty quiet to start this season, and still has just four goals in 30 games, insisting he wanted to be more productive. But Killorn has really come on strong recently, being one of the team's best forwards on the ice the past couple games. He racked up six shots Saturday against Washington, and set up the game-winner Monday on a slick pass to Brian Boyle on a shorthanded 2-on-1.
"Killer was outstanding," coach Jon Cooper said. "He was powerful at both ends of the rink, he really commanded the puck, he protected well, got everybody involved. If you're going to talk hockey Gods, he earned that."
Killorn, at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, is a rare power forward on the Lightning roster. While Killorn's pass to Boyle made the highlights, it's his hard work behind the play that set up the rush. That's how Killorn says he can make an impact.
"It's been tough for everyone scoring-wise and it just keeps mounting and mounting," Killorn said. "Our team has kept it simple, and for myself I try to work hard and the harder you work, the more you're going to get rewarded.
More notes: Despite wing Joel Vermin's hand injury, there are no callups expected by the Lightning for tonight's game in Toronto, which means that rookie wing Yanni Gourde is likely to make his NHL debut. "A dream come true," he said. Gourde said his wife, Marie, his mom and two brothers are going to be attending the game at the Air Canada Centre. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in net for the Lightning. Tampa Bay did not hold a morning skate, a normal policy on the second day of a back-to-back, with captain Steven Stamkos not available to the media until post-game. There's a crush of media here, including USA Today and ESPN. Stamkos is in a nine-game goal drought, his longest since going 11 in his rookie season, back in 2008..Forward Jonathan Marcheessault, a former Blue Jacket who played his first two NHL games with Columbus in 2012-13, said there was no added emotions in scoring a goal against them Monday night. "I played two games there, but except that, it was just business as usual," Marchessasult said. Marchessault has three goals in 14 games since his call-up, forcing his way onto the roster. "This is what I wanted to do," Marchessault said. "To have a few games in a row and be able to show off what I can do. I'm pretty happy overall how things have been going lately, hope it can go the same way." RW Erik Condra skated on his own this morning, though Cooper said yesterday it's still "dicey" whether he can return by Friday's road-trip finale.