Alex Killorn could return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup when they visit the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“He’s probably going to be a game-time decision,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the morning skate.
Killorn has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury he sustained blocking a shot in the second period of a 5-1 win in Game 1.
The Lightning can sweep the best-of-7 series and win the Stanley Cup on Monday.
“I can’t sit here and make any promises if he’s going to play or not,” Cooper said. “If not, it’ll be the same lineup as [Game 3], but he’s definitely inching his way closer.”
Mathieu Joseph has taken Killorn’s spot in the lineup the past two games. He had an assist, a plus-2 rating and five hits playing on the fourth line with Tyler Johnson and Pat Maroon in a 6-3 win in Game 3 on Friday.
Joseph or forward Ross Colton would be the likely candidates to be scratched if Killorn is able to return.
“Mathieu Joseph comes in and has a huge impact,” Maroon said. “Those two games he plays, it’s that brotherhood bond we have, the compete and the next man up mentality.”
Killorn had been playing regularly on the Lightning’s second line with Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos and on the top power-play unit with Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and defenseman Victor Hedman. He’s also a big part of the Lightning’s penalty kill.
Johnson played in his spot as the left wing on the second line in Game 2 but moved back to center the fourth line in Game 3, when Colton was the left wing with Cirelli and Stamkos.
Killorn has scored 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 19 playoff games. He is tied for second in goals on Tampa Bay with Stamkos and Kucherov, behind Point, who has scored 14 goals in the postseason.
The Lightning are trying to win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season. They defeated the Dallas Stars in six games in the Final last season and would become the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.