The Wings welcomed the Bolts to Detroit early Sunday evening with the intention of winning a second game in a row. This has only happened three times before tonight’s game, but the Lightning didn’t get into Detroit until 3AM after playing Boston on Saturday, so if there was ever a chance for the Wings to finally, finally beat the Lightning, it was this game. It was really scary, but they managed to down the Lightning for the first time in eighteen tries, ending a tie for longest losing streak against a single team in the league (Arizona has suffered just as much against Boston.)
Also, the other, other streak that broke in this game is my streak of recapping losses, which goes back to January of 2019. It’s a record setting day in so many ways.
The game started with a lot of racing back and forth. Less than two minutes in, Anthony Cirelli had Bernier beat but not the post. Bertuzzi very nearly got his own chance, but he got harried by like, the entire Tampa team. Timashov had en even better opportunity, but Cernak made a great defensive play to wrap his stick around Timashov and poke the puck loose without a penalty. Cernak has like, at least a foot on Timashov, which I guess would make it easier to wrap your stick around a guy without hitting the hands or tripping the feet.
Despite a lot of racing, the game was actually pretty tame throughout the first half of the opening frame, sans one great save from Bernier. Eight minutes in the Wings only had one shot to Tampa’s four. It seemed Detroit’s speed was more effective on the forecheck than the rush, though. Tampa wan’t exactly impatient, but it they must have started to get impatient with it.
Then came an awkward phase in the neutral zone where Detroit continually had to reset against Tampa’s trap. It lasted so long both teams were able to make a line change. Tampa finally snagged the puck from Detroit and cracked into Detroit’s zone, but Bertuzzi had a magnificent back check to steal the puck from Tampa and launch a pass to Fabbri deep in the neutral zone, who’d just come off the bench. Fabbri was off to the races against McElhinney and burried it on the left side to make it 1-0 Detroit!
Timashov drew a penalty against Sergachev for interference and Bernier went to the bench for the extra attacker, and holy cow the Wings looked competent! They chewed up about a minute before surrendering possession.
But then the power play was pretty sloppy, so whatever.
Detroit carried play for the most part throughout the remainder of period. Bertuzzi and Larkin combined for an excellent chance to nearly give Detroit a two goal lead, if not for the corner of McElhinney’s blocker. Unfortunately, Detroit couldn’t stretch out that lead, but that’s not too bad considering how good Tampa is (again) this year.
Score: 1-0 Red Wings
Shots: 9-7 Red Wings
Stand Outs: Daylight Saving Time
The second period started much like the first ended. Detroit generally carried play, lots of moving up and down the ice, not a ton of shots, lots of puck dumping, which is not a bad strategy by any means; make Tampa skate, skate, skate all night long. They were tired, so may as well exploit the weakness.
Bernier came up with another big save on Cirelli, but otherwise didn’t have a ton of work to do. If only there was a time change the night before every game, and every team was on the tail-end of a back-to-back after beating the best team in the league, then maybe Detroit would be a playoff team!
Midway through the period Tampa finally got their legs between them. It resulted in Tampa finally getting a power play for Ericsson holding Carter Verhaeghe.
Tampa grabbed up the puck, maintained control and put the puck on net. Tyler Johnson got sent to the ice by Nemeth in front of Bernier, but he was able to scoop the puck cross ice to Brayden Point. Point took advantage of the open net in front of him and didn’t err, making it a 1-1 Tie.
Larkin and Hronek combined for yet another opportunity to score a goal and a rush, but couldn’t make anything of it. McElhinney stood tall on that opportunity, and then literally did so again just a few minutes later on a big Nemeth slap shot that he caught high in the chest.
Detroit finally did score a big goal, thanks to a Glendening redirect. Really unfortunate, though, because it was a goal into Detroit’s net. Credit went to Carter Verhaeghe, and with this one I finally remembered that the Wings are sometimes (often) a struggle to watch. 2-1 Bolts.
Both of these goals were results of increased possession by Tampa. The Lightning began protecting the puck more to in a deeper formation, which they could use to set up breakouts to beat the Detroit forecheck.
Fabbri made the job even tougher late in the period by taking a slashing penalty against Cernak. Tampa nearly scored off the opening draw, but afterwards Detroit knotted up the Bolts pretty well until the final seconds of the penalty kill when Bernier had to make another huge save, this time against Patrick Maroon.
In the waning seconds of the period Detroit finally got the goal he was sniffing out the whole game. Bertuzzi gained possession along the half-boards in Detroit’s own end and centered a pass to Larkin, who sprung Mantha along the right side. Mantha mesmerized a handful of Bolts and put the puck on net. McElhinney made the stop, but Larkin collected the rebound and tapped it home to tie this one back up, 2-2!
Score: 2-2 Tie
Shots: 19-16 Lightning
Cirelli started things off right for the Red Wings by hitting Helm in the face with the blade of his stick. So the Red Wings basically started off the period on the power play, which looked much different than the first go around way back in the first period. The Wings cycled, gave up the puck, grabbed a give-away, and cycled the puck around the half-boards, then down low, then back out to the right side of the slot to Mantha, who couldn’t bury it on the first attempt, but did on the second, to finally get Detroit the lead back, 3-2 Red Wings!
In the following flurry, Bogosian wrung a second shot off the post for Tampa Bay, so the luck may have gone both ways with this one (in reference to the Glendening deflection late in the second.)
But to make luck you gotta keep moving your feet, which is what Tampa stopped doing Larkin sent Bertuzzi and Mantha into a two-on-one against Cernak. Cernak went down to the ice in an attempt to break up Bertuzzi’s pass to Mantha, but he just ended up taking himself out of the play. McElhinney slid to stop the shot from Mantha, but Mantha passed the puck at the last possible moment back to Bertuzzi in front of the open net. 4-2 Red Wings!
Shortly after, Point fired an innocent shot that deflected off Biega’s stick, then arm to arc over Bernier into the Wings’ goal. Wings continue to hold on by only 1.
The Wings went to the power play once again, this time a Kucherov high-stick against Larkin. Detroit didn’t do anything exciting with it, although the cycling was good. The most exciting save was made by Bernier against a streaking Alex Killorn in the waning seconds of the power play.
The Lighting took the momentum from the penalty kill and peppered Bernier with several shots, but the goalie stood tall through the middle of the period. Scoring effects are scary when you’re a Red Wings fan and your team has the lead, and finally with about eight minutes remaining Tampa cracked Bernier again as a harmless shot is fired from near the blue line and drops off Bernier’s chest protector. Daley accidentally kicks the puck right onto Maroon’s stick, who taps it in. Tie game again, sad face.
Bowey then got called for cross checking, which marked about the third big mistake he made this game but I shied away from writing about because of all the goals. Not one of Bowey’s better games.
The Wings got hemmed in on the ensuing penalty kill, and things got real scary when Glendening’s stick broke, but Hronek had a great clear from behind the red line to finish things off. He should have gotten called for the same penalty again with about 2:30 remaining.
The Lightning continued to press hard against the Wings, but they managed to stave off a deflating loss to bring things into OT.
Score: 4-4 Tie
Shots: 34-25 Lightning
Stand Outs: Bowey’s name came up a lot, and that can only be a good thing, right?
Wings started with Mantha, Fabbri, and Lindstrom and won the opening draw. McDonagh nearly scored off a Kucherov pass, but he got too excited, sent it high. Detroit gets their licks for a shift, but Tampa gets possession back. Waning minute of OT, it’s Fabbri, Gagne, Lindstrom again, but nothing on the shift, Tampa maintained most of the pressure until ten seconds left, Hail Mary pass from Mantha to Fabbri, but McElhinney stops the attempt, so we’re going to the shootout.
Score: 4-4 Tie
Shots: 37-28 Lightning
Stand Outs: Red Wings fans, standing out of their seats because intensity.
Detroit let Tampa shoot first. Bad idea because Sergachev scored.
McElhinney freezes but Gagne can’t lift the shot.
Bernier stops a rising shot on Point.
Larkin ties it up stick side against McElhinney!
Kucherov tries to go glove side against Bernier, but Bernier has a glove, so he grabs the puck.
Fabbri goes in straight on against McElhinney and moves the puck from the forehand to backhand like, 572 times, and slides it past McElhinney on his backhand!!
2-1 RED WINGS WIN!
Score: 5-4 Red Wings
Shots: 37-28 Lightning
Stand Outs: FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVENTEEN TRIES THE RED WINGS BEAT THE LIGHTING! SO MANY THINGS WERE GOING AGAINST THE LIGHTNING COMING INTO THIS GAME, BUT A WIN’S A WIN!
Oh, and yeah, Red Wings will try to go on an actual winning streak on Tuesday against Carolina. See you then!