Ahhh...we meet again. After their highly competitive 1st round playoff series last year, the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning met up again in Joe Louis Arena. Both teams entered the game undefeated and absolutely rolling on offense. Would Tampa continue to light it up or would the Wings get revenge against their nemesis from last season?
The Wings started the second the same way they ended the first, with a strong push at the beginning. The Lightning weathered Detroit's early push and got an opportunity to go on the powerplay when Glendening took a penalty eight minutes into the 2nd. However Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro were excellent on the PK, a trend that continued through the period.
After that penalty kill, the action was pretty uneventful, save for a 30-second stretch late in the 2nd period where Abdelkader rocked Alex Killorn and then Steven Stamkos got lost in coverage and rang a wicked wrister off the goalpost. Mike Green also had an incredible defensive play, diving to knock a puck away from J.T. Brown who was looking to go in on a 3-on-0.
The Wings started to push back again towards the end of the period and Nyquist drew a penalty on Matt Carle for tripping. Carle didn't like Nyquist for some reason and shoved him a bit after the call. Nyquist responded by wiring a wrist shot into the top corner for the powerplay goal!
Score: 1-0 good guys
Shots: 16-11 Detroit
Standout Players: Nyquist, Glendening, Ferraro, Sheahan
Tough Period: None
The Wings started off the 3rd period shorthanded thanks to Jurco's penalty but their penalty kill looked superb again. They got to test it one more time as Riley Sheahan got called for a high stick shortly thereafter. After killing off that penalty, the Wings start flying again, kickstarted by Dylan Larkin. About midway through the period, Larkin knocked down an outlet pass from Victor Hedman and then found Zetterberg in the slot for a 2-0 lead!
However, the lead didn't last as just a couple minutes later, the Lightning won the faceoff in the offensive zone and ran a set pick play in front of Howard to get Ryan Callahan a wide open one-timer. The Lightning continued to press after that goal, almost scoring on the very next shift if not for an amazing backcheck by Abdelkader on Jonathan Drouin.
The Wings pushed the pace of play after that, perhaps sensing that the Lightning were running out of power. Dylan Larkin nearly sealed the victory on a breakaway, but fired a shot wide. With just under 2 minutes remaining in the period, Kyle Quincey scored one of the best empty net goals you'll see, shooting the puck the length of the ice into the open net. The Lightning pressured, but it was too little, too late, and the Red Wings remained perfect to start the year.
Score: 3-1 Red Wings (WOOOOO)
Shots 24-21 Detroit
Standout Players: Zetterberg, Larkin, Quincey, Howard
Tough Players: None
Random Thoughts (by Graham)
- I missed the start of the game because of the Cubs game (YES) but the Wings looked flat to begin. Tampa came out strong, but that's typical of a team that played the night before.
- The Wings' first power play seemed to be the unofficial turning point of the game. The Wings looked more in control after that, and it was evident that Tampa was playing their 3rd game in 4 nights.
- Dylan Larkin has ludicrous speed, but let's hope that was just nerves on his first ever NHL breakaway.
- Brendan Smith had a very strong game tonight. Minus one poor clearing attempt, he played a smart, effective game, especially since he seemed to play against the Stamkos line quite a bit.
- Landon Ferraro looked like a player who doesn't want to be the odd-man out when everyone gets healthy.
- Justin Abdelkader really likes money it would appear.
- 2 starts, 1 goal against. Jimmy Howard is not prepared to give up his job without a fight. He's also tonight's Player of the Game.