‘It’s not always the size of the player’: Tyler Johnson plays OT hero for Bolts


Prior to Game 4 of this series, Tyler Johnson was hit in the face with a puck during warm-up.

That didn’t seem to faze him. In Game 5, he was positioned right in front of the net when the puck deflected off him and into the net, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning the overtime win and pushing that team one step closer to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

“I was just out there in front. I saw (Jason Garrison) start to shoot it, and I thought it was going for my head again,” Johnson told reporters. “So I turned around, and I got lucky. It just nicked me.”

That goal was Johnson’s seventh of the post-season. His 17 points has him tied with Phil Kessel for fifth in the playoffs.

At a time of the year when the physical play is emphasized, Johnson, who stands five-foot-eight-inches tall, has been a consistent producer in the playoffs, with 42 points in 45 career post-season games. (That production slowed to two points in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, though it was revealed he suffered a broken wrist early in that series.)

“He’s a winner. That’s what winners do. They don’t back down. And when there’s a challenge ahead of you, you’ve got to find a way to meet that challenge. Tyler Johnson was that way before he came to the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

“It’s not always the size of the player, it’s the size of the heart, and that’s Tyler Johnson.”