Killorn '12 Makes NHL Homecoming to Boston
No. 17 received a forwarding pass and swept across the crease to beat Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin. It wasn’t the first goal the 23-year-old forward had scored at TD Garden, but this one was different.
The last time Alex Killorn ‘12 had played at the Garden, he scored a first-period goal to help the Harvard men’ hockey team past Northeastern, 4-3, in the 2012 Beanpot consolation game. In his return to Boston Saturday afternoon, Killorn found the back of the net once more in the opening frame, this time as a rookie for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In his 11th career NHL game, Killorn provided the Lightning (9-11-1) an early 2-0 lead before the Bruins responded with three unanswered tallies down the stretch. Boston center Brad Marchand struck on a 2-on-1 with 2:16 left in regulation to lift the Bruins (13-2-2) to a 3-2 win.
“I thought we had a created a lot of momentum on the power play,” Killorn said. “A couple lapses that they capitalized on ended up being the story of the game.”
Killorn’s goal came 8:38 into the first period on the power play. Lightning forward Teddy Purcell tucked a feed past the Bruins’ defense onto the stick of a charging Killorn, who deked around Khudobin for the score. The strike was the rookie’s third career NHL goal and fifth career NHL point.
“[The goal] felt good, especially to get it so quick in the game to kind of help the momentum of the team going forward,” Killorn said. “I’ve played here a few times, and it was nice to score.”
Killorn added that he knew he had “50 or 60” supporters in the Garden stands.
On the first power play of the day, the former Dunster House resident set up camp in front of the Boston net as Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos squeezed a close-angle shot past the goal line less than six minutes into the game. Killorn would ink his name on the score sheet three minutes later.
The Bruins evened things up early in the second with two goals spaced 1:17 apart. Killorn was on the ice for the tying tally—a left-wing one-timer from Boston center Richard Peverley.
Killorn’s presence was most felt on special teams Saturday. The rookie displayed offensive firepower not only on the power play but also on the penalty kill.
With less than six minutes left in regulation, Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was tagged with a four-minute double-minor after a high stick on Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic. More than a minute into the Boston power play, Killorn forced a turnover in the Tampa Bay end and went coast-to-coast with the puck before losing control in the Bruins’ crease as Khudobin covered up for a pad save.
“I was actually trying to do the similar play that I scored on my last goal,” Killorn said. “I lost the puck, but it ended up working out well because it kind of caught [Khudobin] in the five-hole. I thought it was going to sneak through, but he ended up just falling back on it, though.”
Marchand produced the game-winner minutes later. A shorthanded shot from Stamkos bounced off the boards and allowed Boston’s Patrice Bergeron to set up the decisive 2-on-1 in the opposite direction.
In the final minute and a half, Killorn and the Lightning looked for an offensive spark with an extra attacker but failed to produce the equalizer. Killorn finished with four shots, a minus-one rating, and a career-high 19 minutes of ice time.
During his time at Harvard, Killorn led the Crimson in goals during his junior and senior seasons. The government concentrator graduated as a CCM Hockey All-American after posting a tournament-high 10 points during the 2012 ECAC postseason.
Killorn enjoyed particular success in the Beanpot with five goals in eight tournament games, including four in his last four. The night before his return to the Garden, Killorn was in the Bright Hockey Center audience as his old team upset No. 1 Quinnipiac.
“We’re so thrilled and proud of what Alex is doing right now,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said after Harvard’s 2-1 win Friday. “He’s a great kid and really kind of a role model for what we want to represent as a program.”
After Saturday’s game at the Garden, Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher berated his squad for unnecessary offensive gambles in the closing minutes. But he had nothing but praise for Killorn’s performance.
“Alex Killorn has been terrific for us every single game,” Boucher said. “He makes it happen; he’s a two-way guy, pays the price offensively and defensively. He’s been terrific for us.”
—Staff writer Michael D. Ledecky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mdledecky.