Game Recap: Red Wings Thunderstruck in Game 2, Lose to Lightning 5-1
Three second-period Tampa Bay goals bury the Red Wings.
If Game 1 was all about the Tampa Bay Lightning getting plenty of chances and not getting much past Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, Game 2 certainly saw plenty of opportunities from prime scoring areas that led to four goals on the board for the Lightning.
Let's get this over with.
The first period of Game 2 played out pretty similarly to Game 1 in terms of territorial control and game flow. Each team had its moments, until Alex Killorn took a side-swipe hit against Pavel Datsyuk that walked the line between legal check and slewfoot. The contact drew a scrum, and according to NHL Bylaw 54.3(s), when the Red Wings are involved in a scrum, they must always somehow end up shorthanded.
On the ensuing power play, Nikita Nesterov got the puck at the top of the point and fired a shot that rang off the post. The puck bounced directly to Tyler Johnson off to Mrazek's left side, and he couldn't get across quickly enough to stop Tampa from taking a 1-0 lead. The teams continued to tussle pretty evenly at even strength, and Tampa took the lead into the intermission.
Again, both teams had their runs of play, and the Red Wings started to take control. That control didn't result in Detroit goals, and it came back to bite the Red Wings midway through.
On a rush, Tomas Tatar was chasing Killorn while the rush appeared to get stymied along the boards to Mrazek's right. Tatar doesn't read that he's last man back and circles back to cover a point man that isn't there while the puck finds Killorn on an island in front of Mrazek. A flubbed backhand wouldn't stop him, as Killorn snuck it between Mrazek's outstretched leg and the post
On another rush, former Red Wing Valtteri Filppula took the puck to the corner and came out with it. Feeding a cross-slot pass, he found Andrej Sustr streaking down from the point while no one bothered to look over their shoulders to make sure he was covered.
The Red Wings still had a chance, and it seemed 100 percent of their breakdowns ended up in their net, they weren't playing completely awful hockey. That chance got snuffed out when a pinch combined with a failure to keep the puck in the zone. Danny DeKeyser was the last man back and for some strange reason thought it was a good idea to get tangled up with Nikita Kucherov while Johnson took the open ice and buried the breakaway. The Lightning took their 4-0 lead into the second intermission.
Jimmy Howard came into the game for a bunch of good reasons, none of which included "Mrazek was bad." Tomas Tatar put the Red Wings on the board, as a faceoff win gave Kyle Quincey a point shot that deflected off Tatar's leg and into the net. It's Tatar's first career playoff goal in his seventh career playoff game.
Gustav Nyquist took a hooking penalty late in the third. Tampa Bay executed Detroit's power play better than Detroit did, letting Filppula catch a drop pass in the neutral zone. Filppula skated right through on the rush, fired a shot on Howard, collected the rebound and made it 5-1. A crossbar is the only reason the final score wasn't 6-1.
- Petr Mrazek should still start Game 3. Maybe you wish he would have made a "big save" or two on some of Tampa Bay's goals, but the Red Wings defense hung him out to dry in this one.
Detroit's power play went 0-for-4, Tampa Bay's 2-for-4, although we might as well call it 1-for-3 considering Filppula's tally was in garbage time. A power play goal certainly would have changed the complexion of this game, as Detroit didn't get any power plays in the third and their latest chance was when the game was 2-0.
As has been mentioned, the Red Wings didn't play that badly, despite the final score. Every defensive breakdown got buried in their net, but I wonder how much of the Red Wings' ability to get time in the Tampa Bay zone in this game — something clearly lacking in Game 1 — was the result of score effects.
Tatar's goal aside, the kid line either needs to be broken up or needs something different to be more effective. Maybe being at home will help them get a better matchup, but that line has spent more time in the offensive zone fumbling around than scoring, and Detroit needs them to score.
Datsyuk was not himself today, skate issues on the power play aside. He didn't handle passes cleanly, and his effectiveness was very limited because of this./
Let me have a moment of composure: The final score in this game doesn't matter except for saying that Tampa Bay won this game. But Detroit did what every road team tries to do in a series: steal one on the road and get home-ice advantage. We're all tied at 1-1 in games, never mind the final scores, but now we're headed to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Take the extra day off and do whatever you need to prepare. The Joe will be ready.