Barclay Goodrow smiled when he heard that Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper called him an old-fashioned four-wheel drive Jeep playing among a collection of Ferraris.
“I’ll take it,” the Lightning forward said. “I think they’re pretty reliable cars. I know their resale value is pretty good. They hold up in all conditions. So I’ll take it.”
But Goodrow showed in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday that he too can rev like a luxury sports car. He scored the go-ahead goal with a nifty short-side shot from low in the left circle at 12:39 of the third period.
Goodrow helped turn it into the game-winning goal by grinding like a Jeep the rest of the way, playing 3:05 of the final 7:21 with the Lightning protecting the lead, including 2:05 of the final 2:18, the final 79 seconds with Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on the bench for the extra skater.
The Lightning won 2-1 in the opener of the best-of-7 series. Game 2 is back at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS).
“He usually doesn’t get his accolades from getting game-winning goals, he’s usually the guy stopping game-tying goals from happening,” Cooper said. “So you’re really happy for guys that are true team-first players that have an opportunity to bask in a little bit of the limelight, which he deserves.”
Goodrow finished Game 1 with his goal and seven hits in 18:48 of ice time, including 5:40 on the penalty kill, which was 4-for-5. He helped kill a minor penalty shortly before he scored his goal, playing 1:16 on the PK when forward Anthony Cirelli was in the box for high-sticking.
“There’s so much skill on the team, so many high-end elite players, goal scoring, playmaking, whatever it may be,” Goodrow said. “Obviously, I think my game is different than that. I can bring physicality and I do take a lot of pride in being defensively sound and being counted on to do a good job on the penalty kill, defend a lead when we’re up late in games. I just try to play the game I’ve always played, and I like being reliable in those defensive situations.”
The Lightning didn’t have Goodrow for the first five games of the first round against the Florida Panthers because of an upper-body injury. His absence was felt.
They weren’t as stingy defensively at 5-on-5. The Panthers were exploiting them on the penalty kill, scoring six power-play goals, five from Games 3-5.
Goodrow returned in Game 6, played 16:43 and the defending Cup champions won 4-0 to advance.
“It’s not a coincidence that game turned out the way it did with him in the lineup,” Cooper said.
It’s not a coincidence the Lightning protected the lead that Goodrow gave them in the final 7:21 of the third period Sunday either.
Not only was he defending late in the game, his awareness was obvious when he saw defenseman Ryan McDonagh without a stick with 30 seconds to play. Goodrow gave McDonagh his stick and kept defending without one, laying his body out to get in shooting lanes.
“We can just trust him in any situation,” McDonagh said. “Tie game, he’s out there, makes a goal happen. We got a lead, he’s out there defending. First and foremost he sacrifices his body, willing to block shots and we all feed off of that. Secondly, he’s got some undercover skill around the netfront there and that chemistry with that line to be offensive has come up in situations time and time again. He’s such a versatile player and ever since he’s joined our team he’s just so trusted in any situation throughout the game. You see his awareness. It’s just time and time again he just seems to be in the right spots and he seems to be pretty clutch along the way as well.”
Clutch is the right word.
Goodrow has scored four goals in 49 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; three stood as game-winners, including a Game 7 overtime goal with the San Jose Sharks against the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2019 Western Conference First Round.
“You can tell he’s a big-game kind of player,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “He’s performed. Last year in the bubble he was outstanding. You go back to his San Jose days, he scored a Game 7 OT game-winner against Vegas. He rises to the occasion.”