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National Hockey League
Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 2
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, April 15, 2016
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Referees: Chris Rooney, Francois St. Laurent
Linesmen: Matt MacPherson, Brian Murphy
Attendance: 19092

TAMPA, Fla. -- If the Tampa Bay Lightning had concerns about a playoff run without Steven Stamkos, they found a resounding answer in their first two games from the prolific line of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov.

For the second game in a row, Johnson and Killorn combined on the go-ahead goal in the third period -- then piled on with another goal each -- sparking the Lightning to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night at Amalie Arena and a 2-0 lead in the opening-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"It's two games, and that line has been fabulous for us," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who has gotten seven goals in two games from the line -- three from Kucherov and two each (all in third periods) from Johnson and Killorn.

On Wednesday, Johnson fed Killorn for the game-winner with 11:08 left in the game. Two nights later, it was Killorn off a pass from Johnson. Killorn skated behind the net and passed the puck back to Johnson, who poked it in around the near post for a 3-2 lead with 13:28 to play, two minutes after Detroit had tied the score.

"We have to stop making mistakes on our defensive end," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "But they're a good line. Don't get me wrong. A hell of a line."

Johnson followed with a second goal with 5:12 left after Kucherov tracked down a loose puck deep in the Detroit zone and fed Johnson for the score.

Killorn got in on the scoring, too, flicking a long shot off the boards for an empty-net goal with 2:44 left.

"They dominated," Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk said. "They had many chances. They score. They find out how to score."

A physical series saw a major brawl in the final minute with the game's outcome long decided, clearing the ice as infractions were sorted out -- a total of 93 minutes in penalties to 14 players, including Detroit's Justin Abdelkader getting a game misconduct after bloodying the face of Tampa Bay's Mike Blundin, punching him in the back of the head while he was face-down on the ice.

"We don't like each other very much," said Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin, who had a goal in his second-ever playoff game. "We sent a message that we're here to battle."

The series moves to Detroit, which plays host to Game 3 on Sunday. The home team has won all six meetings between the teams this season. Cooper downplayed the fight as just being a part of physical playoff hockey.

"Just imagine if it was the 70s. It's 2016. I thought it was pretty mild," Cooper said. "It's two teams that want to win a hockey game and guys going at it. It was a hard-fought hockey game and emotions got the best of them at the end."

For the second straight game, Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop outdueled Detroit's Jimmy Howard by making 30 saves.

Detroit nearly scored with seven minutes left as a high shot caromed off Bishop and off Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan, but it landed on the side of the net, just missing a tying goal.

Down 2-1 to open the third period, the Red Wings tied the score on their power play, which had gone 0-for-8 to start the series, including four in Friday's game. But after a high-sticking penalty against Tampa Bay, former Lightning player Brad Richards scored on a long shot past Bishop to the top left corner of the net to tie the score at 2 with 15:33 left.

The Lightning took a 2-1 lead into the third period of Game 2 thanks to a goal by Brian Boyle on a beautiful drop pass by Jonathan Drouin with 13:14 left in the second period.

Drouin pushed ahead and passed back to Boyle, who fired the puck into the top left corner of the net past Howard.

Detroit tied the score at 1 early in the second period after Larkin, just seconds out of the penalty box, got a loose puck off the back boards and fired a quick shot through the legs of Bishop with 16:30 left in the period.

Tampa Bay took the lead on a five-on-three power play late in the first period as Detroit's Gustav Nyquist and Abdelkader were called for penalties 27 seconds apart.

Thirty seconds into the five-on-three, Tampa Bay scored on a one-timer by Kucherov.

Lightning right winger J.T. Brown left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. Brown played only five shifts and had 2:29 in ice time before the injury. He scored eight goals in the regular season.

NOTES: Both teams dressed the same lineups as they had Wednesday in Game 1. For the Lightning, that meant four players who missed time late in the regular season with injury -- D Victor Hedman, C Tyler Johnson, RW Nikita Kucherov and RW Ryan Callahan -- were again healthy and playing. RW Erik Condra, C Jonathan Marchessault and D Matt Taormina were healthy scratches. RW Mike Blunden, who played in just his second career playoff game on Wednesday, dressed again for Tampa Bay. ... Detroit again had D Brendan Smith, RW Tomas Jurco and LW Teemo Pulkkinen as healthy scratches. ... Hedman had 29:26 in ice time in Game 1, well above his average but indicative of the major role he'll play in the playoffs while top D Anton Stralman is sidelined with a broken leg.
Top Game Performances
Detroit   Tampa Bay
Dylan Larkin 1 Points Tyler Johnson 4
Dylan Larkin 1 Goals Tyler Johnson 2
Jonathan Ericsson 1 Assists Tyler Johnson 2
Brad Richards 1 Power Play Goals Nikita Kucherov 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Jimmy Howard .867 Save Percentage Ben Bishop .938
Jimmy Howard 26 Saves Ben Bishop 30
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Detroit 32 2 1-5 5-6 68 36
Tampa Bay 31 5 1-6 4-5 51 34
Upcoming Games
  • Tampa Bay will play their next game on the road against Detroit. The Lightning have a W/L % of .532 after a win and .600 after a loss.
  • Detroit will play their next game at home against Tampa Bay. The Red Wings have a W/L % of .452 after a win and .550 after a loss.