The Tampa Bay Lightning (9-6-1) faced the Detroit Red Wings (8-7-1) in a second of a back-to-back set after blanking the Islanders (5-8-3) 4-0 last night. These teams last met on opening night, where the Lightning beat Detroit 6-4 after the Red Wings jumped out to a two-goal lead early in the first. The Bolts looked to continue their recent success over Detroit as the Red Wings aim to rebound and take one at The Joe. Here’s how it all went down:
First Period: The Lightning have been plagued by slow starts this season, but tonight was not one of them. The Bolts came out with incredible speed and peppered Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek early on. Their labors would pay off at 3:30 with an unlucky bounce that lead to a Nikita Kucherov goal, his sixth of the season. From there they would not back off, as they built on the intensity, leading to a Steven Stamkos goal off a rebound at 6:09.
The Red Wings would get some luck as the officials called Slater Koekkoek for interference. Early on in this penalty kill, an incredibly scary moment would happen for Tampa Bay as Stamkos, while fighting to get the puck out of the zone, would tumble and come up holding his right knee. He immediately went to the Lightning bench and would eventually head to the back to be checked on. Unfortunately, he would not return for the rest of the period.
The Lighting would hold strong for several minutes after the penalty, but eventually Detroit would get through off of a backhand by Frans Nielsen as he was uncovered in front of the net. Detroit would then lay on a bit of pressure before the buzzer sounded and ended the first.
Second Period: The second would start without Stamkos on the bench as the team would announce that he sustained a lower-body injury and miss the rest of the game. Detroit would take momentum early and pounce on Bishop with several dangerous scoring chances. Not only that, they prevented him from being able to play the puck, one of the best attributes to his game. The Lightning would get a break as Detroit’s Brendan Smith would get whistled for tripping, followed by Mike Green heading to the box a minute later for tossing the puck out of the defensive zone and delaying the game. Tampa Bay would work with the five-on-three advantage for a few seconds before coming up empty at the end.
Detroit would continue to dictate play, keeping Tampa Bay on their heels. Things would begin to get physical as Detroit’s Steve Ott, who was looking for a fight all game, left his feet and drilled Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette into the boards, prompting Brian Boyle to come to his defense to pummel Ott with his fists. Boyle would then be sent off for instigating and Detroit would be on a power play at 13:34 of the second. The Detroit power play would come up with nothing as teams began to trade pleasantries. The physicality would even bleed over after the whistle as Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader would come at Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn and be tagged for roughing.
Third Period: The Lighting started off with their third power play of the game and found pay dirt as Tampa Bay defenseman Nikita Nesterov would fire a one-timer off the point. The shot would deflect off of Detroit’s Luke Glendening and into the Red Wing’s net. This was Nesterov’s first goal of the season and Tampa Bay’s first power play tally of the night.
That wouldn’t be the only power play of the period, as Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point would go off for hooking at 7:06. This would ignite the Red Wings and Detroit’s Ryan Sproul would score the first goal of his career just six seconds into the man advantage, putting Detroit down by just a lone goal. From there, the penalties would fly as both Victor Hedman and Abdelkader would be sent to the box, where they were shortly followed by Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson, giving the Red Wings a 4-on-3 advantage. The Red Wings would capitalize on this opportunity as the puck would bounce over to Detroit’s captain, Henrik Zetterberg, who tied the game 3-3 with a chip in.
With the game all knotted up, the Red Wings had all the momentum and looked to build a game-winning formula with their intensity. The Lightning utilized their bend, but don’t break attitude as Detroit put on massive pressure as the game ticked down to the final minutes. With a last desperate burst, Tampa Bay would strike back and the Russian sniper known as Kucherov would shoot the puck off of a blocked shot and give the Lighting a 4-3 lead with 1:10 left in the game. With the finish line on the horizon, Tampa Bay played keep away with the puck and held on to snatch their second win of the five-game road trip. This truly was a gutsy effort by the Lightning as they hopped so many hurdles to put this one in the W column.
Three Stars of The Game:
- Nikita “Clutch” Kucherov – 2 goals, 1 assist, GWG
- Nikita “Nasty” Nesterov – first goal of the season, 1 assist
- Vlad “Bieber Fever” Namestnikov – 2 assists, +2 plus/minus
Next up: Tampa Bay Lightning (10-6-1) vs. Buffalo Sabres (5-6-4) on Thursday night at 7:00pm in Buffalo.