Though the Lightning took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference final with the Islanders with a 2-1 win Wednesday, they may be looking at losing Alex Killorn.
With Tampa Bay trailing 1-0 in Edmonton, Killorn was called for a boarding major and a game misconduct after hitting forward Brock Nelson into the boards from behind 5:55 into the first period.
Nelson was battling for puck possession with Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli. Cirelli hit the glass before losing his footing. Nelson was trying to move the puck down the ice when Killorn skated just behind his left shoulder, in Nelson’s blind spot. As Nelson took his first step after clearing the puck, Killorn charged into him, making shoulder-to-shoulder contact and pushing Nelson face first into the glass.
Killorn skated on while Nelson was down on the ice. Nelson was checked on by team trainers before heading down the tunnel.
Killorn’s hit will automatically be reviewed by the league’s Department of Player Safety since it drew a major penalty. Killorn could be suspended.
“I think you saw that the penalty was called correctly,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “A player unsuspecting, meaning the play has already gone. We were more worried about (Nelson’s) face and head. That’s a dangerous play, and we’ll let the league deal with that.”
Killorn’s ejection forced the Lightning to play the rest of the period with 10 forwards and seven defensemen since they opted to use an 11-7 lineup again.
Tampa Bay successfully killed off the five-minute power play.
Nelson did not return for the remainder of the period, but he was back on the bench for the second period. He finished with 10:48 of ice time.
Later in the second period, Nelson was hit again along the glass, this time by Barclay Goodrow.
The Lightning forward turned around along the boards and made a move for the puck, which Nelson was shuffling between his skates. After the puck had cleared, Nelson reached down as if he was trying to pick up his broken stick, and Goodrow put the shaft of his stick to the back of Nelson’s head, plowing Nelson into the glass.
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The officials did not call a penalty on the play.
“I just thought that was a little bit of a target at the head,” Trotz said of Barclay’s hit on Nelson. “(The Lightning) knew he was hurt, they targeted him a little bit, but the league handles it and they look at it thoroughly, so it’ll be in good hands.”