The time has come.
Hockey has returned.
An absolutely electric start to the season came in the forms of welcoming Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond to town. This was quickly followed by an overwhelming outpouring of emotions from the fans. Dylan Larkin finally got his captaincy ceremony with a crowd. He was joined by every living captain of the Red Wings. Everyone from Red Berenson to Henrik Zetterberg made their way to LCA to give Larkin his kudos as the face of the future.
Is it dusty in here?
Following a blowout loss on their Opening Night, the Tampa Bay Lightning came out of the gates with energy, firing off a few high-danger chances. After peppering the Red Wings for a few shots, the Lightning earned a double-minor for a slash against Nick Leddy...which resulted in nothing. Raymond had a few very good chances, at least.
It appeared as if the Bolts would be the first to break the ice. Their dominant period showed no signs of slowing down. Fortunately, the Hockey Gods favored the other side. At the 15-minute mark, captain Dylan Larkin scored from a beautiful Zadina and Fabbri feed (and a little Hot Potato from Andrei Vasilevskiy). The goal served as a rallying point — the Wings continued to get more comfortable with the pace of the game, putting up a strong fight against the powerhouse of Tampa.
Physicality was the name of the game in the first period. Even Lucas Raymond got his licks in, knocking Nikita Kucherov to the ground with a hit.
The second period started off standard-
Was that TYLER BERTUZZI?!
A highlight reel-worthy goal from Bertuzzi quickly puts the team up 2-1 early in the second.
This move became somewhat of a powder keg between the teams, who became wildly physical, leading to mutual roughing penalties for a Lightning player and Zadina. Yeah, this was a weird game. Alex Nedeljkovic was far and beyond the MVP through the first half of the game, saving some Grade-A chances from the Lightning’s toughest offensive corps.
Another fun offensive sequence saw the third goal for the Red Wings and the second for Bertuzzi in the night. The excitement was quickly spoiled by Ondrej Palat, who cut the score to 3-1. The physicality ramped up yet again when Larkin was hit from behind into the boards by Mathieu Joseph. Larkin took exception to it, hitting back with all his might.
Joseph received a 4-minute minor and Larkin...got a game misconduct for an intent to injure penalty. Yes, you read that correctly: Larkin received more of a punishment than the actual instigator.
Fear not, though — reprise came in the form of Tyler Bertuzzi, who quickly made it 4-1. With his third goal, two interesting statistics came to light.
- Four of the last seven Red Wings opening night games have featured a hat trick.
- Both Raymond and Seider earned their first NHL points.
...Until the game misconduct penalty kills took their toll. Two Lightning goals came back-to-back from Stamkos, making it 4-3. The second period ended with a mountain of penalty calls and the settings for what could very well be a period three bloodbath.
The third started with a penalty and ANOTHER goal from Bertuzzi, making it his fourth in four shots! This is the 11th goal Tampa has given up in two games. Not great for the Cup champs. Great for the Wings, though!
BERTUZZI!— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 15, 2021
Scratch that — make it 12 goals. Namestnikov nets his first of the season off an aggressive play from Rasmussen. Six goals on Vasilevskiy after struggling against him for years on end feels like the start of something great.
It started to get ugly again once Ondrej Palat landed a dirty hit on Michael Rasmussen, cross-checking him into the boards. The referees...offered a two-minute minor. Should’ve been a game misconduct (just like the Joseph hit), but, of course, the call went the other way.
With six minutes left to the game, the Lightning score again, making it 6-4. Like I said earlier — you can’t give Tampa anything.
Before the pixels could even hit the screen, Tampa scored AGAIN off a power-play goal. The fun didn’t stop there for Tampa, though. They quickly managed to tie it after making a play on Danny DeKeyser. Overtime was quick to arrive as soon as the possibility appeared.
Unfortunately, fate was not in Detroit’s favor during a dominant overtime for Tampa, who quickly sealed the Red Wings’ fate.
A few good things:
As the season continues, I’ll conclude my recaps with some optimism. We might have a few tough games on our hands, so I figure the best thing to do is keep the morale high. With that said:
- Alex Nedeljkovic looked like a starting goaltender tonight. He gave off Mike Vernon vibes and seemed like the type who wasn’t afraid of confrontation.
- Moritz Seider messed with Victor Hedman earlier in the game and wasn’t afraid to square up when things got tough.
- Bertuzzi outplayed everyone else tonight and completely dismantled the Lightning defense.
- Pius Suter looks very comfortable at 2C.
- Both of the rookies got their first points!