This is not news that Tampa Bay Lightning fans want to hear. Following his five minute major and game misconduct in game two for the hit put on Brock Nelson, Lightning forward Alex Killorn will be suspended for one game.
Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn has been suspended for one playoff game for Boarding NY Islanders’ Brock Nelson. https://t.co/wQptWd2mqd
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) September 10, 2020
What will especially drive Lightning fans nuts is the fact that Killorn was suspended for this – albeit, the penalty was justified – but Nick Ritchie‘s hit on Yanni Gourde in the second round was far more egregious and didn’t even warrant a game misconduct at the time;
This hit by Ritchie on Gourde was much worse and didn’t even result in an ejection, let alone a suspension. pic.twitter.com/KGBXw3NzAc
— Evan #GoBolts (@evanod717) September 10, 2020
What really hurts the Lightning is losing Killorn while the status of Brayden Point is still unknown. Point left game two less than five minutes into the second period and although he returned to the bench briefly, he never returned to the game. Head coach Jon Cooper said that he didn’t have an update on Point’s status but would let the media know tomorrow ahead of game three.
Without Killorn and Point, the Lightning are going to be thin. They’ll look to guys like Carter Verhaeghe, Mitchell Stephens, and Mathieu Joseph as potential replacements for the two forwards. Verhaege and Stephens have had brief moments this postseason where they’ve provided solid play while Mathieu Joseph has led an up-and-down career to this point.
The Lightning certainly delivered a back-breaking blow to the Islanders in game two, winning with only nine forwards following Point’s injury as well as Killorn’s ejection, but the series is far from over. An Islanders team that believes they have new life as the Bolts will be without (potentially) two key players in their lineup could be the spark New York feels they need to get back in this series.