It was a special night at Amalie Arena. For a couple of reasons.
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde returned to Tampa to face not only his former team, but his predecessor in Jeff Blashill. No doubt, emotions were high. What wasn’t high were expectations, from a fan’s perspective. With Andrei Vasilevskiy starting in net for the Bolts, at home, I felt like the classic “Bolts-on-Wings” violence was bound to unfold.
Holy hell. I was wrong. Newsy outcoached his old team.
The Red Wings came out swinging with bare knuckles to start this game. Tampa drew a penalty early and after the Wings killed it off, things started to lean in their favor. Heavily.
Tampa was a turnover machine in the first — especially in their own zone. The unfortunate part of this is that they have one of the best goalies on the planet — Andrei Vasilevskiy had to stand on his head to keep the Red Wings without a goal. Honestly it’s pretty annoying. The guy just wouldn’t let in a goal even though his team was trying to get him shellacked.
Oh hey, nice little tribute for Newsy:
Thanks for everything, Coach. pic.twitter.com/gM9o9hjoG4— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 7, 2022
Not a lot of complaints on the Red Wings front to open this game. They made the best of their chances but were met with ridiculous goaltending.
- Ville Husso deserves a shoutout. He stopped some big chances.
- Jonatan Berggren needs to be playing with Dominik Kubalik
- I mean no disrespect, I would like to see less of Pius Suter (see above)
Detroit started the period with another penalty, to which they again had a fairly easy enough time killing off. After 20 minutes of alien-freak-like play from Vasilevskiy, it was Michael Rasmussen who would break his bid for a shutout. I’ll admit, Ras came out of nowhere on this one. He had been fairly quiet to start the game until this moment:
With a lead now in hand, the Wings started to further tighten up the neutral zone and keep Tampa from generating any major chances that Husso couldn’t handle.
The Wings would eventually draw a PP chance, but they had nothing to show of it.
A statistic that really stands out after two periods is that the Lightning have 14 giveaways compared to Detroit’s 0 giveaways. If it were against any other goalie, the Wings would be going into the third with a comfortable lead.
- Power play looks sluggish. Needs more Berggren.
- Filip Hronek’s stretch of heroic hockey continues with another point — he picked up an assist on Rasmussen’s goal
- Fair bit of “LGRW” chants at Amalie Arena
I think almost every Red Wings fan went into the third period expecting a surge from Tampa’s offense — and that’s pretty much exactly what we got. But not before Detroit got a much-needed insurance goal from the rookie sensation Jonatan Berggren. It was a marvelous redirect goal from Joe Veleno and Olli Maatta:
With a 2-0 deficit, Tampa’s offense started to figure it out. The Bolts pinned down the Wings and exploded with 30 shots in the third period alone. Tampa would eventually start scoring, but as Mickey Redmond said on the broadcast: “a day late and a dollar short.”
Steven Stamkos made it 2-1 while Vasilevskiy was on the bench. The Wings would sweat it out and manage to notch two empty-net goals to ice the game away. That included this beauty from Adam Erne, which ended up being the game-winning goal:
FINAL: 4-2 Red Wings
Hey, would you look at that. A win in Tampa, and a special one at that. Not only is it a big statement for this team (still battling injuries but keeping in the race), it was a milestone night for head coach Derek Lalonde — defeating his old team at home. A big win indeed, as Bally Sports noted on the broadcast, the Wings had only two regulation wins in the last 20 visits.
This win was largely thanks to the “x’s and o’s” of the game. Detroit clogged up the neutral zone and kept Tampa off of its game plan. I think we can give coaching a lot of credit. Sure, we got some inside info, but the team went out and executed.
With back-to-back wins, the Red Wings now look ahead to Thursday night against another big division rival in the Florida Panthers, who is chasing Detroit in the Atlantic standings.