Jon Cooper called out his team after a poor performance on Saturday against Ottawa. He turned to his back-up goaltender – looking for his first win of the season – on Sunday.
The second-half of the Tampa Bay Lightning season began in Detroit – on the heels of a back-to-back – on Sunday night at Little Caesars Arena. Head coach Jon Cooper was less than thrilled with his team’s performance against the Senators, and he made sure that “the leaders” on the team were aware of his displeasure.
After an early aggressive start, the Lightning picked up their 10th straight regular season win over Detroit – longest active streak versus any team.
Message delivered – Bolts bring intensity early
Recording the games’ first six shots on goal, Tampa Bay didn’t waste any time confirming that the message was received from their coach. It was increasingly paramount given the Lightning were turning to back-up Louis Domingue in net.
Several minutes later Girardi was involved in the games’ second goal. This time it was his assist that allowed Tyler Johnson to give the Lightning a two-goal advantage. For Johnson, it was his 13th goal of the season. Apparently, the Red Wings bring out the best in Johnson. He now has eight points in his last nine games against Detroit. After a 15-game goal drought earlier this year, Johnson has now scored 22 points (nine goals) in his last 19 games.
Girardi takes puck to the head
A better look at Girardi trying to block a Frk shot pic.twitter.com/uvZoay8vve
— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 8, 2018
“That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in hockey,” Cooper said of the Girardi puck to the face. He went on to say “We came as a team and we’re going to leave as a team” when asked if Girardi would stay overnight for tests. Early reports are that Girardi is doing ok.
Solid debut for Domingue
Domingue, making his first appearance for the Lightning, entered with an 0-6 record and a 4.33 GAA in seven games with the Arizona Coyotes. He performed much better than his numbers would have suggested. Detroit paraded 32 shots at Domingue, managing only two goals.
Gourde goes Gordie in Detroit
Howe played 25 seasons in a Red Wings uniform. His number is hung high in the rafters at Little Caesars Arena.
“You can’t be from Canada and not know who Gordie Howe is” — Bobby “The Chief” Taylor
Scoring two goals on the night, Yanni Gourde‘s first came with a bit of controversy. Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill challenged the goal, claiming goaltender interference. Ultimately, the goal stood and Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead into the third period. Having failed the Coaches Challenge, Detroit played the entire third period without their timeout. As for Gourde, his three points on the night match a career-best.
Kucherov matches Ovechkin goals scored
Tied for the NHL lead in goals scored, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Ovechkin entered tonight with 26 goals apiece – they left their respective games with 27 goals each. Kucherov’s goal gave Tampa Bay some breathing room before Gourde’s second became the nail-in-the-coffin. A face-off win by Steven Stamkos found the tape of Kucherov’s stick and in an instant the puck was behind Mrazek.
- Kucherov has 11 regular season goals against Red Wings – more than any other team
- Kucherov has 24 even-strength goals this season – 23 all of last season
- Lightning have seven players with 30 points this season – Red Wings have one (Dylan Larkin)
- Ondrej Palat has not scored a goal (13 assists) since November 25
NHL’s Three Stars of the Game:
Yanni Gourde: (2 goals, 1 assist)
Gustav Nyqvist: (1 goal)
Dan Girardi: (1 goal, 1 assist)
The Lightning return home after the five-game road trip to face the Carolina Hurricanes (19-14-8; 46) on Tuesday. Carolina was dominated, by a score of 7-1, at Boston on Sunday.
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