TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The good news for the Tampa Bay Lightning is they’re up 2-0 on New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs and still haven’t played their best hockey.
Alex Killorn scored twice during a four-goal second period, helping the top seed in the Eastern Conference beat the Devils 5-3 on Saturday in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.
The Atlantic Division champions scored three times in a 2:47 span in the second period, and the reeling Devils pulled goalie Keith Kinkaid after Killorn’s third goal in two games made it 5-1 with 6:48 remaining in the period.
Kinkaid, whose stellar play since January helped New Jersey finish strong and claim its first playoff berth since 2012, yielded five goals on 15 shots.
Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson also scored for Tampa Bay, which is up 2-0 in the series after going 0-2-1 against the Devils during the regular season.
Game 3 is Monday night in Newark, New Jersey.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 41 shots, limiting the Devils to rookie Nico Hischier’s unassisted goal in the opening period, Sami Vatanen’s sixth career playoff goal late in the second, Blake Coleman’s third-period tally that trimmed Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-3 with eight minutes left.
Goalie Cory Schneider came off the bench to help the Devils stay in the game with 10 saves, nine in the final period.
Five players scored in the Lightning’s 5-2 victory in Game 1, with just one of the goals coming from the team’s top line of Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and J.T. Miller — Kucherov’s empty-netter with a little over a minute remaining.
Tampa Bay’s second and third lines once again did most of the damage, with Point scoring at 12:15 of the first period and Killorn, Johnson and Kucherov adding goals during a three-minute stretch of the second to build a 4-1 lead.
Both of Killorn’s goals came on power plays. Kucherov’s second of the series deflected off Vatanen’s stick into New Jersey’s net.
Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 shots in the opener and was outstanding again Saturday, when New Jersey outshot the Lightning 44-25.
Notes: Hirschier was New Jersey’s second-leading scorer during the regular season with 52 points, 41 fewer than Hall. At 19 years, 100 days, he became the youngest player in franchise history to score a playoff goal. … Lightning RW Ryan Callahan left the game late in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return. … Kucherov, Tampa Bay’s leading scorer this season, has 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 47 career playoff games.
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