NEWARK, N.J. — Down 0-2 to the Lightning after allowing five goals each in both games of the first-round playoff series, Devils coach John Hynes is contemplating what any coach in his situation would: changes.
"We'll have some lineup changes," Hynes said Sunday during a conference call. "Some guys haven't performed well enough to warrant a stay in the lineup."
One of those guys is G Keith Kinkaid, who came into the series red hot but has allowed nine goals in less than five periods. He was pulled in the second period of Saturday's 5-3 Game 2 loss after allowing five goals on 15 shots.
Not all of those goals where his fault. One went in off the skate of Devils D Sami Vatanen, and two were deflected past him.
Cory Schneider, who was the Devils' No. 1 until he was sidelined in late January with a groin injury, replaced Kinkaid at 13:22 of the second period and stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Hynes would not comment on whom he would have in net tonight when the series resumes with Game 3 at the Prudential Center. He said he had made a decision but had not informed the goalies. The Devils flew home Saturday and did not practice Sunday.
Hynes said after Game 2 that he would not speculate on which goalie would play tonight but "if you're asking me about Corey Schneider's performance (Saturday), he played very well."
Kinkaid was 16-2-1 after taking over for Schneider, including 7-0-1 in his final eight starts of the regular season. Schneider did not look sharp once he returned from his injury. But with the series slipping away, it seems Hynes has to do something.
When asked Sunday during a conference call about the goalie situation, Devils LW Taylor Hall said, "That's the least of our worries. We have a lot of confidence in both."
These are the playoffs. Doesn't matter who dominated who. Or which team out-shot the other. Only one thing matters: Who won? #TBLightning #GoBolts @TBLightning @TB_Times @TomWJones #NJDvsTBL #NJDevils https://t.co/tgEzUmp5iK— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) April 15, 2018
Callahan, Girardi updates
As expected, the Lightning did not provide updates on RW Ryan Callahan (upper body) and D Dan Girardi (unknown).
Callahan, top right, left Game 2 late in the second period with what appeared to be a right shoulder injury and did not return. An injured right shoulder caused Callahan to miss four games in late March.
Girardi, bottom right, did not return for the third period. The Lightning has not commented on why.
F Matthew Peca was recalled from AHL Syracuse, which might be a sign that Callahan is unable to play tonight. F Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch for the first two games, is another option to replace Callahan.
Not over yet
The Lightning has never lost a playoff series after leading 2-0 but the players said all the right things after Saturday's Game 2 victory.
"We know they are going to be a desperate team. They are going to come out flying in front of their fans," D Victor Hedman said. "We just have to make sure we are staying calm and stay within our structure and play our game."
"Obviously, if you get a 3-0 lead, things would be looking pretty good, and that's ideal for us," C Tyler Johnson said. "But we are not focusing too much on that. We just want to win the next game."
"There's still a lot of hockey to be played," said Hall of the Devils.
The Lightning took advantage of its breaks, found a way to score against the Devils' penalty kill and withstood a late push by a desperate team. #TBLightning #GoBolts @TB_Times @RogerMooney50 @TBLightning #NJDevils #NJDvsTBL https://t.co/1MkYr7RzlD— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) April 15, 2018
Did you know
RW Nikita Kucherov, credited with the Devils own goal Saturday, has 24 career playoff goals, tied with Penguins F Evgeni Malkin for most postseason goals since Kucherov made his playoff debut in 2013-14. Tyler Johnson is next with 23. Kucherov is second in franchise history in playoff goals, behind Marty St. Louis' 33.
Contact Roger Mooney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @rogermooney50.