Mrazek, Athanasiou lead Wings past Bolts, cut series deficit to 2-1

. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jeff Blashill’s decision to go with Petr Mrazek in goal over Jimmy Howard paid off on Sunday night.

Mrazek made 16 saves for his third career playoff shutout as the Detroit Red Wings blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0.

Andreas Athanasiou’s first career postseason goal at 12:42 of the second period stood to be the winner. Captain Henrik Zetterberg added the insurance marker less than five minutes later.

Read more

Tyler Johnson scores twice, finds his playoff form as Lightning take Game 2

Tyler Johnson (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

If the Tampa Bay Lightning would have defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final in 2015, there’s a good chance Tyler Johnson would have hoisted the Conn Smythe Trophy as the post-season MVP. Johnson’s 13 goals and 23 points led the Lightning in the post-season, and it was the continuation of what had been a breakout season for the Tampa Bay pivot.

In the first game of the final, though, Johnson broke his wrist, and he was largely ineffective throughout the Cup final. Tampa Bay will never know what could have been last season had Johnson remained healthy last season, but it appears the 25-year-old pivot is going to do his best to make Lightning fans have a case of deja vu. In Game 2 of the first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, Johnson showed the same playoff form that put him in discussions for the Conn Smythe last season.

As the Lightning looked to go up 2-0 and take a stranglehold of the series against the Red Wings, Johnson came to play. He registered a secondary assist on the Lightning’s first goal, scored the game-winner before the seven-minute mark of the third and then iced the game with a backbreaking goal with five minutes left in the contest. And after a tough regular season in which Johnson struggled to get back up to speed after recovering from his broken wrist, it looks like he’s found his form. Read more

Lightning’s Palat dropped by questionable hit from Red Wings’ DeKeyser

Jared Clinton
Danny DeKeyser hits Ondrej Palat (via Streamable)

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings may not be two teams that first come to mind when you think of physical play, but the bad blood between the two sides may have reached its boiling point in Game 2 of the opening-round series.

After a first game that saw its share of rough play, the hatred was flowing between the two teams early. After a rough and tumble first frame tempers reached their highest point of the series when Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser absolutely wallpapered Tampa Bay winger Ondrej Palat with a questionable hit.

With the Lightning on a power play, the puck found its way behind the Red Wings’ goal where Palat raced to beat Detroit defenders and maintain possession. As he reached the puck, Palat had his stick lifted by defenseman Alexey Marchenko and was crunched by DeKeyser. Take a look: Read more

Alex Killorn shows off awesome hand-eye coordination for game-winning goal

Jared Clinton
Alex Killorn (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

When coaches tell players to put pucks to the net, it’s usually with the hope the puck will take a friendly bounce and find the back of the net, or the shot creates a rebound that leads to a scoring chance. But when Lightning center Tyler Johnson threw the puck at Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard Wednesday night, what he then saw was teammate Alex Killorn smacking the puck out of mid-air for the game-winning goal.

Midway through the third period with Tampa Bay and Detroit locked at two goals apiece, Johnson managed to come up with a loose puck only a few feet from the right wing corner in the Detroit zone. With his head down, Johnson simply flung the puck towards Howard only to see a charging Killorn locate the puck in time to bat it home. If the goal sounds unorthodox, that’s because it was. Check it out: Read more

Ben Bishop and the Lightning penalty kill stymie Red Wings to take Game 1

Ben Bishop, Braydon Coburn and Victor Hedman (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the biggest worries for the Tampa Bay Lightning with the losses of Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman heading into the first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings was that their power play would suffer. Though that might have been the case in the first game of the series, it didn’t matter much as it was Tampa Bay’s other special teams unit, the penalty kill, that made the difference.

It should come as no surprise that special teams made a difference in the penalty-filled affair, either. The Lightning and Red Wings were both in the bottom half of the league in times shorthanded, and that was apparent in the opening game of the series as the team’s combined for 18 penalties. It also shouldn’t be too surprising that in a game that came down to special teams, it was the Lightning who came out on top.

During the regular season, the Lightning ranked seventh in the league in penalty killing at 84 percent and they had no problem in Game 1 taking care of the Red Wings’ 13th-ranked power play. Five times in the opening game of the series the Lightning found themselves shorthanded, and each time they snuffed out the Red Wings’ power play attempts. All told, Tampa Bay allowed only five shots against while down a man. Read more

Lightning’s Tyler Johnson suffers injury on scary hit from Canadiens’ Greg Pateryn

Jared Clinton
Tyler Johnson (via Streamable)

Already dealing with injuries to Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, the last thing the Lightning could afford was another injury. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they weren’t able to escape their final game without another injury, and it could be a big one.

Late in the first period of Saturday’s season finale against the Canadiens, Tyler Johnson was heading towards the Montreal goal when netminder Mike Condon covered the puck. As the whistle blew, Johnson was checked by Canadiens defenseman Greg Pateryn and the hit sent Johnson hard and awkwardly into the boards. Johnson remained down on the ice for a few moments before eventually being helped off the ice by the training staff: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Steven Stamkos’ injury won’t scare away free-agent suitors

A rising salary cap could impact free agent negotiations, like those with Steven Stamkos (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos’ recent vascular surgery comes as a blow to the Tampa Bay Lightning entering the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. With a recovery time frame of one-to-three months, the 26-year-old might not return in time to help the Bolts in the post-season.

Given Stamkos’ UFA eligibility in July, his lengthy convalescence creates more uncertainty over his future. The Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly suggests Stamkos may have played his final game in a Lightning jersey.

TSN’s Gary Lawless doesn’t expect Stamkos’ surgery will scare away free-agent suitors or reduce what could be his expensive asking price. It’s expected he’ll make a full recovery from the procedure. Lawless wonders, however, if this will have an effect upon Stamkos’ future plans, and those of the Lightning.

Read more