Lightning’s Alex Killorn will travel to Montreal, but status in question for Game 3

Jon Cooper could not provide an update, but the fact Killorn is making the trip is a good sign.
Lightning wing Alex Killorn will travel with the team to Montreal for Games 3-4, but his status remains up in the air.
Lightning wing Alex Killorn will travel with the team to Montreal for Games 3-4, but his status remains up in the air. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published July 1, 2021

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.

Related: With one second to go, Lightning get a goal that will last forever

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.”

Related: How to watch the Lightning play Montreal in the Stanley Cup final

“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.

Related: This Lightning fan dances his heart out at postseason home games

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.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

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).

Related: Greased Lightning? John Travolta latest famous face at Amalie Arena

Up next:

Who: Lightning at Canadiens, Game 3

When: Friday at 8 p.m.

Where: Montreal, Quebec, at the Bell Centre

Watch: NBC

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.

• • •

Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.