TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Nikita Kucherov scored twice and Alex Killorn snapped a third-period tie with his 11th career playoff goal, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of their first-round series Wednesday night.
Ben Bishop had 34 saves for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who got the winner from Killorn less than two minutes after a potential go-ahead goal was waived off when Detroit coach Jeff Blashill successfully challenged that Tampa Bay should have been called for offsides before Victor Hedman scored.
Tyler Johnson picked up a loose puck along the boards and fed Killorn, who slipped the puck past Jimmy Howard at 8:52 of the third.
Kucherov scored in the first and second periods and also assisted on the winner.
Mike Green and Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit, which outshot the Lightning 36-34 but had few real scoring opportunities after taking a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Bishop, who led the NHL in goals-against average and was second in save percentage, stopped five shots in the final 1:07 to seal the victory.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Friday night at Amalie Arena.
This is the second straight season Detroit and Tampa Bay have met in the opening round. The Lightning advanced in seven games in launching a run to their second Stanley Cup final appearance, and it doesn’t figure to be any easier this year with leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman out with injuries.
The teams split four meetings during the regular season, each winning twice at home.
It took the Red Wings less than two minutes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, with Green scoring his 10th goal in 72 career playoff games at 2:11 of the second period, and Abdelkader beating Bishop 1:56 later with a shot through traffic that cleared the goalie’s right shoulder.
Kucherov’s second goal of the night – 13th in 29 career playoff games – made it 2-2 midway through the second period.
Notes: Stamkos is sidelined one to three months after undergoing surgery for a blood clot found near his right collarbone. Stralman is sitting out the series while recovering from a broken left leg. … The Red Wings are 50-15 when winning Game 1 of a series as opposed to 19-35 when losing Game 1. … The Lightning improved to 2-7 in the opening game of a first-round series.