Thursday, July 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn gives puck-possession clinic

TAMPA — The puck hopped over the stick of Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg. That was the key. "Once I see that puck bounce over his stick, I get on my horse because it gives you an energy boost," Lightning LW Alex Killorn said.

Killorn caught up to the puck in the offensive zone and pinned it along the far boards for five seconds, 10, 20, 30. It seemed like an eternity to the Wings, who were on a power play and had pulled their goalie trying to overcome a one-goal deficit in the final minute. Killorn effectively negated the two-man advantage and the Lightning held on to win 3-2. The Wings did not get a shot on net during the power play.

"I felt like I had a step on Zetterberg. He got in my way. He did a good job of getting in my way, actually, cause I would have just grabbed the puck," Killorn said. "I almost fell at a certain point to take even some more time off, and you just hope you can take as much time off as possible, and that’s what we did."

RELATED: Kucherov, Stamkos lead Lightning past Red Wings.

On the defense

D Slater Koekkoek was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in five games. That run of inactivity followed a five-game stretch when D Andrej Sustr was a healthy scratch.

The emergence of rookie Mikhail Sergachev has cut into playing time for Koekkoek and Sustr.

With the Lightning carrying eight defensemen and dressing seven in their past nine games, someone has to sit. Coach Jon Cooper was asked after the morning skate how he decides who plays and who sits.

"There’s a lot of factors," he said. "One is they are players on our team and we want them in the lineup. It’s just everybody can’t play. We’ve just never been really that team that’s going to sit a guy on the bench for a month and half and not get in there. We want these guys playing. You get them a game or two a week, it still keeps them fresh, it keeps them engaged. They’re part of our team. We’ve got eight (defensemen) for a reason. We’re playing seven right now. One guy has to sit. But it’s not like those guys will be sitting for long."

RELATED: Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Red Wings game.

Paquette’s return not imminent

C Cedric Paquette missed his fourth straight game because of an undisclosed injury and is expected to miss several weeks.

"Unfortunately, a couple players go through some of these injury streaks, and he’s in one," Cooper said. "It’s not that this is serious. He’s going to mend up a little bit, and he’ll be back."

Quote of the day

"You definitely don’t make the playoffs in October, but this is a good start for us."

RW Ryan Callahan

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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