After holding on for a one-goal victory over the Red Wings in Detroit, Tampa Bay plays host to the boys from Motown.
Off to their best start in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-1-1) lay claim to the NHL’s two leading scorers. Steven Stamkos (4-17; 21) and Nikita Kucherov (12-7; 19) led the Bolts to eight wins in their first 10 games. The Red Wings entered Amalie Arena with a sour taste in their mouth after being shutout at Buffalo on Tuesday night. Another bitter night for the Red Wings (4-6-1) ended in defeat as the Lighting held on for a one-goal victory.
Tampa Bay had several chances in the early going, including two power play opportunities. Unfortunately, one of those chances turned into a short-handed goal for the visitors.
Moments after Justin Abdelkader went to the box for slashing, Red Wings center Frans Nielsen intercepted a pass which led to a 2-on-1 break the other way, ultimately giving Nielsen his third goal of the season.
A Detroit penalty for too many men on the ice gave Tampa Bay their third power-play chance of the period. This time they were able to capitalize.
The first period came to a close with the score tied thanks to Kucherov’s 12th goal of the season.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second period.
Although there was no scoring, the second frame provided a different level of drama. Rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and Detroit winger Anthony Mantha got into a little dust-up resulting in off-setting penalties.
Sergachev appeared to take the worst of it as Mantha dropped his gloves and threw punches at the 19-year-old. Despite not throwing any retaliation shots in the direction of Mantha, Sergachev served the same amount of time in the box.
The referees determined that Mantha’s fist-to-cuffs were not worthy of a five-minute fighting-major.
In between periods Sergachev discussed the physical nature of tonight’s action with Fox Sports Florida’s Rich Hollenberg.
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) October 27, 2017
Tight in the Third
Not long after Brayden Point picked up his fifth goal of the season, Stamkos extended his point-streak to eleven games. Once again it was Kucherov who set him up.
After a brief hesitation lured the Red Wings in tight, Kucherov pushed the puck through the slot and Stamkos slapped a one-timer past Howard. The goal gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead late in the third, before a costly mistake by Kucherov changed the momentum.
Kucherov and Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg raced for a loose puck and the visiting center appeared to be in position to corral the puck when Kucherov lifted his stick between the legs of his opponent. As Zetterberg fell to the ice, Kucherov was whistled for tripping.
The two-goal advantage became a one-goal margin when Nielsen found twine with only 1:29 left to play in the game.
Once again Nielsen was the beneficiary for Detroit – his second special-teams goal of the night. Andrei Vasilevskiy made a couple of key saves in the final minute of play and Alex Killorn earned high praise for his hustle.
After clearing the puck, short-handed 6-on-4, with under a minute to play, Killorn raced down the ice and wrestled in the corner with two Red Wings forwards. The tie-up wasted enough time on the clock and the Wings were unable to get a quality shot on net as the final horn sounded.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Nikita Kucherov (1 goal and 1 assist)
2nd Star: Steven Stamkos (1 goal)
3rd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy (29 saves)
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