Jon Cooper’s comments about interference didn’t make a difference, but luckily for the Tampa Bay Lightning, some of their big names did.
Steven Stamkos didn’t score a goal, yet he had a nice assist, and one of the best lines in hockey (Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Nikita Kucherov) did the rest. The Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Monday, forcing a Game 7 on Wednesday.
Johnson scored two of the goals while Kucherov piled up three helpers. Alex Killorn’s splendid 4-2 goal really sealed the deal, as things were tense when Tomas Tatar sawed the Lightning’s third-period lead to one goal early in the frame.
Ben Bishop looked shaky at times, something that has to be considered as the Lightning approach Game 7. Tampa Bay also may have shown some discipline issues, as they gave Detroit six power-play opportunities (versus just two for the Bolts).
The league must also sort out the matter of Niklas Kronwall’s enormous hit on Nikita Kucherov before that decisive contest comes around:
Whatever happens with the Red Wings’ key defenseman, it should be quite the contest in Tampa Bay. It will be hard to top Game 6, too, with all the highlight reel goals and Petr Mrazek saves.