The Lightning won the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, defeating the Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5. However, the biggest news may have come after they began lifting the Stanley Cup. Dressed in his uniform, Alex Killorn revealed to Sportsnet’s Kyle Bukauskas that he suffered a broken fibula, had a rod surgically put into the broken bone — and was still hoping to play.
“I tried for Game 4 but clearly it wasn’t good enough,” he said as captain Steven Stamkos called him a warrior. “Then it got worse after trying it. The boys did a good job that I didn’t have to play. I was hoping I didn’t have to use it but if it came down to it, I would probably play the next game or Game 7. But the boys didn’t let that happen.”
Killorn missed Games 2-5 after blocking a Jeff Petry shot in the second period of Game 1. Playing without a stick after handing it to defenseman Victor Hedman, Killorn laid his body on the line to prevent the shot from getting through. He was shown on the bench in some pain and played four more shifts — including one in the third period — before missing the rest of the game.
As he noted, he skated in warmups for Game 4 but did not play. Killorn was on the ice to celebrate and shook hands with the Canadiens before getting his chance to lift the Stanley Cup for the second straight year.
Killorn normally skated on the Bolts’ second line with Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli, and was part of the Lightning’s top power-play unit. He was also a key penalty killer.
“Alex is a piece of the puzzle,” Cooper said before Game 2. “He plays multiple special teams, he kills penalties for us, he’s on the top power-play unit, he can check for us, he chips in on the goal-scoring side of things. He’s a depth, veteran player you can depend on game in and game out. He’s the guy that … you look on the scoresheet and he’s gobbled up 18 minutes, and he’s got some blocked shots, he’s got some hits, he’s got this, he’s got that. When you win a hockey game, he’s contributed in a way that doesn’t always get his picture in the paper.”
He finished the playoffs tied for second on the team with eight goals and collected 17 points in 19 games. Eight of those points were on the power play, and one was a short-handed assist. During the regular season, he chipped in 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 56 games.
“Killer is a big part of our team,” Tyler Johnson said prior to Game 2. “He eats up a lot of minutes and plays in every situation. It’s going to be everyone having to step up in different roles. That’s the great thing about our team, we have that depth. It’s going to take everybody.”
Johnson took Killorn’s spot on the second line and notched an assist on the team’s first goal in Game 2 for his fourth point in 20 playoff games. Ross Colton, the Stanley Cup-clinching goal-scorer was in his spot for Game 5.
Mathieu Joseph, who hadn’t played since the first round vs. the Panthers, slotted into the roster on the fourth line. He has two assists against the Canadiens. The Laval, Que., native played two games against Florida and played four games during the Lightning’s 2020 Stanley Cup run. In 56 regular-season games this year, he tallied 12 goals and seven assists.