Killer finish: Killorn’s late winner bounces Detroit from playoffs

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The Detroit Red Wings did almost everything they could to extend the series tonight.

Everything, that is, but score a goal.

Alex Killorn did what the Red Wings couldn’t, tallying the lone marker with just 1:43 remaining to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 win on Thursday night, closing out the series four games to one.

Killorn’s goal, his third in five games, came on a gritty net-front effort in which he banged home a puck past Petr Mrazek. It ended what was a tight, compelling affair in which Detroit threw nearly everything it could at Ben Bishop.

It just couldn’t throw anything past him.

The rangy netminder was terrific on the night, especially on breakaways — he stopped Luke Glendening, Darren Helm and Dylan Larkin on separate occasions, and finished with a 33-save shutout.

It was a fitting ending for Bishop who, last year, beat the Red Wings in Game 7 of their opening-round series by stopped all 31 shots faced.

For Detroit, tonight’s game had to be frustrating, and that’s a theme that arose throughout the series. The Red Wings were a frustrated bunch during the opening two games of this series, in which they took an unusually high number of penalties while falling behind 0-2.

While the goaltending switch to Mrazek from Jimmy Howard provided a brief spark, it didn’t last long. Tampa Bay regained control of the series after dropping Game 3, and never really looked back.

Speaking of the Lightning, this series win spoke volumes about the club’s resiliency. Entering without the services of captain Steve Stamkos and key d-man Anton Stralman, many thought the injures would be too much for Tampa to overcome. But the club withstood another injury — to J.T. Brown, who was knocked out of the series early — to become the first team this spring to advance to Round 2.

As for Detroit, the focus will now quickly turn to the future of Pavel Datsyuk, who could have played his final game in a Red Wings uniform.