Self proclaimed influencer Alex Killorn is our first player up which is kind of fitting since he’s been with the organization the longest. Drafted way back in the third round of the 2007 draft he spent some time at college before joining the professional ranks (it was some little school in Massachusetts). The Halifax native made his professional debut at the end of the 2011-12 season with the Norfolk Admirals. Then, following 44 games in Syracuse, he debuted with the Lightning on February 10th of 2013. It wasn’t a bad way to kick off his NHL career as he picked up an assist against the New York Rangers. His debut goal would come a few games later.
We’ve actually briefly discussed this goal before on Raw Charge since it was the focal point of a hockey card. Today, let’s delve a little deeper in the goal itself.
Honestly, it wasn’t the sexiest first goal ever scored by an NHL player. In fact, the best play in the sequence was made by Matt Carle to keep the puck in at the blueline. The oft-maligned defender stepped in just at the right time and chipped the puck to an open Killorn despite Jack Skille being right in his face. The pass is in the perfect spot as it leads Killorn away from Marcel Goc and into open space. My, my that was a collection of names wasn’t it?
The young forward takes over from there. He drags it to his backhand to elude Goc and then back to his forehand to evade the backcheck from Shawn Mattias. Despite the nifty moves he’s quickly running out of time.
Game reports have Vinny Lecavalier verbally calling for the puck at this point as he drifts from Jose Theodore’s left into the circle. A good pass in his wheelhouse and Vinny can probably rip off a pretty good shot, which is what Theodore may have been thinking. After all, why worry about the rookie with no goals when you have Vinny Lecavalier ready to fire off a one-timer? Somehow Killorn resisted the urge to give up the puck (although he admitted it was a hard choice).
While the veteran goalie was lined up with the shooter he appears to have pulled slightly to the left and is as surprised as anyone when Killorn shuffles a little shot towards the net. There was a bit too much room on the glove side and that’s exactly where the puck went (despite Bobby Taylor saying that he was beat on the “stick side”. Theodore as a right-handed catching goaltender threw the Chief off a bit I think).
There was a little bit of confusion on Killorn’s part after the goal as he told the Tampa Bay Times following the goal^:
“It’s funny,” Killorn said of Lecavalier. “He told me after, ‘I got it.’ I thought he was talking about the goal. I wasn’t sure if it went off his skate or something. But he was talking about the puck.”
The goal came in the first period of a rather exciting game. Tampa Bay had been scuffling a bit leading into the game, struggling to get leads. In fact, Killorn’s goal gave them their first lead in over 362 minutes of game time. It wouldn’t last long as the 2-1 lead turned into a 5-3 deficit compliments of some Lightning turnovers.
Still, thanks to Steven Stamkos on the power play (shocking) and Teddy Purcell’s game-tying goal with 10 seconds to go (actually shocking). Benoit Pouloit (when was the last time you thought of him?) capped off the comeback with a goal in overtime to give the Lightning the 6-5 win.
Killorn made it two games in a row with a goal as he scored the game winner against Toronto three nights later. He would end his rookie season with 7 goals in 38 games which was good enough to pick up one fifth place vote in that season’s Calder Trophy race. Since that first goal he’s scored another 130 which puts him a surprising eighth all time in franchise history. Not bad for someone who hadn’t scored twenty in a season until this year.
^CRISTODERO, D. (2013, Feb 17). A HARD CHOICE LEADS TO A FIRST. Tampa Bay Times Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.slcpl.org/docview/1288377465?accountid=3357