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Red Wings Withstand Lightning Flurry, Complete Detroit Sweep of Tampa Bay

Credit: Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, it’s time for the most important Detroit vs Tampa Bay matchup in the city of Detroit today. The Red Wings return home after a rough game against the Carolina Hurricanes to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning who come into this game red hot. They’ve won five consecutive games and have jumped up into third place in the Atlantic division. Part of that has been some weaker competition with three of those wins coming against bad teams and the other two against good teams who have been struggling as of late. Four of those wins have also come at home as well and the Lightning haven’t been nearly as good on the road this season with a 9-12-2 record.

While Tampa is having a down year relative to their standard, their star forward Nikita Kucherov is having an unbelievable year. He’s on pace to have nearly 90 assists this season and is second in the NHL with 75 points. He has more assists (47) and even-strength points (41) than any Red Wing has total points (Larkin and DeBrincat, 40). The best chance you have of beating this team is to keep him off the scoresheet, but even limiting him to just one point would be a great achievement by this Red Wings team. For the home side, Dylan Larkin has quietly had a seven-game point streak that has included quite a few clutch moments. Look for him to keep things going tonight.

Between the pipes, the Lightning send out the second of the Red Wings biggest goaltending demons in less than a week. Much like Sergei Bobrovsky, Andrei Vasilevskiy has had Detroit’s number going 14-2-0 in 16 career regular-season starts against the Red Wings. While he’s having a down year by his standard (2.89 GAA, .899 SV%), he always seems to play well against Detroit. Meanwhile, the Red Wings once again turn to Alex Lyon who has taken that starting job and ran with it. He’ll be looking to get some offensive support against another one of the top-ten offenses in the NHL. With that said, let’s get underway, shall we?

1st Period

The Red Wings get the first good chance of the game after a great defensive play by Mo Seider on Kucherov. Larkin makes a great play in the offensive zone to create a chance in front, but they can’t get a shot on Vasilevskiy from the scrum. The next few minutes are a bit of back and forth with just a couple of easy-to-handle shots from each team. Around the 16-minute mark, the Lightning get set up for a bit and have a couple of shots at Lyon that he easily handles and covers up. There’s a bit more back and forth with the Red Wings finally getting another shot at the 14-minute mark courtesy of J.T. Compher which gets saved by Vasilevskiy. A puck ends up in the netting after a block by Shayne Gostisbehere and we head to the first TV timeout.

Coming back, there’s a decent chance for Detroit as Christian Fischer leads a rush and throws a backhand at Vasilevskiy that gets blockered away. The shot ends up behind the net and Fischer throws it back in front, but the Red Wings can’t find the loose puck. At the 12-minute mark, the Lightning nearly take the lead. A shot from the point goes wide but the rebound comes to Steven Stamkos who has a wide-open net. Fortunately for the Wings, the puck bounces over Stamkos’ stick and ruins the Lightning’s opportunity.

However, the Lightning get another prime opportunity shortly after. Victor Hedman hands the puck off to Kucherov who then makes an unbelievable backhand pass back to Hedman. Hedman fires the shot and Lyon has no chance. 1-0 Lightning, just like that with 11:15 to go in the first. It’s just a beautiful give-and-go setup by one of the best defensemen in the league and one of the best playmakers in the league. I would have to see why David Perron was so slow getting back into the defensive zone. Either he was gassed on the shift or he didn’t give enough effort but I’m gonna assume it’s the former. Him not being back is why Hedman was able to get free.

The Red Wings get a solid chance about a minute later with Daniel Sprong getting a shot that Vasilevskiy makes a nice save on. A dangerous turnover by Detroit then gives Tampa a great look but the shot is blocked before it makes it to Lyon. A couple more minutes go by with both teams just trying to create rushes but not getting set up in the zone. The Red Wings get a couple of looks at the net, but neither challenges Vasilevskiy. The Red Wings have eight shots in the first 14:30 of the game meaning they’re just four away from their total against Carolina.

The Red Wings finally get some extended possession in the offensive end but can’t quite find a good chance. Finally, DeBrincat gets a good look from the slot and we finally get the second media timeout with just over 3:30 left in the period. The Red Wings are outshooting Tampa 10-5 but the game is still 1-0 in favor of the Lightning. Coming back from the break, the shot attempts are shown on screen and it’s 22-9 in favor of the Red Wings. The issue is that most of these aren’t high-quality chances as Vasilevskiy has had very little challenge dealing with the ten shots on goal. A minute later, we get another break and go to the final media timeout.

Coming back from the break, the Red Wings get a three-on-two rush led by Larkin. He drops the puck off to Raymond who fires a shot that Vasilevskiy makes a blocker save but ends up behind him. Vasilevskiy quickly tries to swipe the puck away BUT PUTS THE PUCK INTO HIS OWN NET!!! IT WOULD’VE BEEN GOING IN IF HE DIDN’T HIT IT ANYWAY BUT THE LIGHTNING NETMINDER HELPS THE RED WINGS TIE THIS GAME 1-1 WITH 1:31 REMAINING IN THE FIRST!!!

Lucas Raymond gets credit for the goal and Larkin and Perron pick up the assists. It gives Larkin an eight-game point streak and ties this game. The final minute and a half is fairly boring including a pretty funny Jeff Petry pin against the boards to end the period. It’s tied 1-1 but the Red Wings were absolutely the better team in that period. They outshot Tampa Bay 12-5 in the period and if it wasn’t for one lapse in defense letting Hedman be wide-open, the Red Wings played a near-perfect defensive period. Some great play and we’ll just need to see more high-quality chances coming in the next two periods.

2nd Period

Seconds into the period, the Red Wings get the first shot of the period giving them 13 on the game, already surpassing their total from the Carolina game. They then get an incredible chance about two minutes in. After a turnover by Tampa Bay, Larkin picks up the puck and finds Fischer in the shot but Vasilevskiy makes a great glove save. They continue controlling the play, getting a couple more chances stopped by Vasilevskiy. They get another one with Raymond burning Lilleberg but Vasilevskiy comes up huge with another save. It is all Red Wings right now but they have nothing to show for it at the moment.

About a minute later, they get another good luck as Olli Määttä fires a shot from the point but Vasilevskiy eats it up. They have six shots in the first five and a half minutes of the period but Vasilevskiy is looking like how he usually does against Detroit. There are about two minutes of back and forth with just one good look for Detroit that was broken up by a solid defensive play in the slot. The Lightning get an alright look from the circle that Lyon gobbles up and sends us to the first media timeout with the game still tied 1-1.

Out of the break, the Lightning have a bad turnover at center ice that Daniel Sprong picks up in the neutral zone after the puck goes off Compher’s skate. He heads in on a breakaway, fires a wrist shot AND BURIES IT PAST VASILEVSKIY!!! 2-1 RED WINGS ON A BEAUTIFUL SHOT FROM DANIEL SPRONG FOR HIS 12TH OF THE SEASON!!! That is huge and gives the Red Wings a much-deserved lead. That’s now 30 points on the season for Sprong who has been so good for Detroit this season in mostly a depth role. We get a whistle shortly after that takes us to our second media timeout.

Out of the break, the Lightning pick up a high-sticking penalty as Austin Watson catches Gostisbehere high. The Red Wings get the first power play for either team tonight with 9:18 remaining in the second period. Off the draw, there’s a great look as Gostisbehere gets a one-timer from the right circle, but he whiffs the shot and it’s easily redirected by Vasilevskiy. There’s another beautiful chance 30 seconds later as Compher tries to find Perron backdoor but a poke check keeps it away. Larkin then finds the puck in the slot and the shot is saved once again. Then, there’s a beautiful pass backdoor that Perron one-times but Vasilevskiy makes an unbelievable save on the doorstep. Wow, this game should be 3-1 but that’s an incredible save.

The second power-play unit gets some solid puck movement early on and do get a shot that is easily saved. But they then have trouble getting set up into the zone. However, Sprong makes a beautiful move and has a great look but gets his feet taken out by Luke Glendening. Mickey Redmond is screaming for a penalty shot but instead, the Red Wings get another powerplay and 11 seconds of five-on-three. Right off the bat, Larkin finds a wide-open Raymond but he puts it across the goal mouth and hits the post. Wow, another missed chance on this power play that you hope doesn’t cost them. There’s some good puck movement after this but it ends with a Vasilevskiy save and a faceoff with 1:12 remaining on the power play.

After the faceoff, Sprong gets another great look but Vasilevskiy makes the save from the right circle. Veleno gets the rebound, but it’s once again steered away. With around 20 seconds left, DeBrincat gets a great look from the left circle with a man in front but Vasilevskiy (I’m getting sick of typing this man’s name) makes another glove save. The power play comes to an end with seven shots on goal and a post but nothing finds the back of the net. We go to the final media timeout of the second with the shots 28-10 in favor of Detroit. Vasilevskiy is keeping the Lightning in this game as he has been by far the best player on their team today and the only reason it’s only a one-goal game.

Right off the draw, Walman fires a slap shot that is once again swallowed by Vasilevskiy. About a minute later, the Lightning get their first shot in at least six minutes with Lyon making an easy save. The Red Wings defense has played a fantastic game limiting the Lightning’s ability to create chances and that’s why the offense has been able to get so many chances themselves. Apparently, they removed one of Tampa Bay’s shots so they’re now back down to ten for the game. Meanwhile, Daniel Sprong has six shots on goal by himself. The last few minutes slow down as neither team creates a good chance for a while. The period comes to a close with the Red Wings up 2-1. Shots were 19-5 in favor of Detroit for the period and is now 31-10 for the game. If they can continue to play like this, they should come away with the win. The key word is should.

3rd Period

About a minute into the period, the Lightning get a couple of nice looks at Lyon but he makes fairly easy saves on both shots. They then get a one-timer from the right circle but a broken stick ruins the chance. Then shortly after, Sprong picks up the first Red Wing penalty of the game for hooking. He gets his stick caught in the Lightning player and even though he lets it go, it was too late, and a dangerous Lightning power play that’s first in the leagues makes its first appearance. They get a first shot early on from the left circle but Lyon makes the save and it’s cleared.

After about 45 seconds of struggling to get set up, there’s an insane stretch with the Red Wings skaters making multiple blocks and important clears and a couple of nice saves by Lyon. The Lightning already have 11 shots in 4:58 of this period. That sounds like a Red Wings game to be honest. Tampa Bay finished the power play with seven shots on goal but no goals as Lyon made some big stops as did Jake Walman, Dylan Larkin, and Mo Seider. The Lightning get another shot right out of the power play that Lyon once again gobbles up.

The Red Wings get a chance at their first shot of the period but gets his skates taken out from under him by a Lightning stick. Apparently, that’s not a trip but shortly after, Jake Walman finally gets Detroit their first shot of the period. We get a stoppage of play shortly after and go to the first media timeout with the score still 2-1 in Detroit’s favor, If I remember correctly, Detroit doesn’t have a single win with only two goals scored this season so if they could score a goal, that would be great.

The first couple of minutes of the break are more back and forth with no good chances. Then, the Red Wings get their first good chance of the period. There’s a beautiful pass from Compher to DeBrincat in the slot who takes a beautiful shot but Vasilevskiy makes another incredible save to keep it at a one-goal game. Right after, the Red Wings pick up a penalty and the Lightning have a six-on-five for over a minute with the delayed penalty. They’re creating chances and the Red Wings just can’t touch the puck. Thankfully, a turnover causes the play to stop and we head to the media timeout with a Jake Walman high-stick sending Tampa Bay on the power play.

The Red Wings keep the Lightning power play at bay for the first minute. Then, Tampa gets a great look as Hedman fires a shot from the point that pops up in the air and deflects off of Anthony Cirelli that just falls wide. They get another great look as Point gets the puck in front of the net but Lyon makes another save. Right at the end, a Copp steal creates a beautiful two-on-one as Walman leaves the box. Walman makes a gorgeous saucer pass but Vasilevskiy makes another huge save to keep the Red Wings lead at one.

Heading into the final five minutes, shots are 17-3 in favor of Tampa Bay for the period with ten of those shots coming on the power play. Lyon has played a great period and we’ll see if he can keep it up. The Red Wings get set up in the Tampa Bay defensive end and Jeff Petry takes the shot that Vasilevskiy swallows up and sends us to the final media timeout. There’s 3:32 left in the game for Detroit to hold onto this lead but a goal would be so much better knowing how these games against Tampa tend to end.

Right out of the break, there’s a good chance for Tampa as Alex DeBrincat’s stick is broken on a shot and it leads to an icing call. With 3:01 left and a tired Red Wings unit on the ice, the Lightning pull the goalie to give themselves a six-on-five. The Red Wings win the draw and push it down the ice, getting a quick change. Over the first 40 seconds, they do a great job of preventing Tampa Bay from getting set up. Just as Tampa looks like they might get set up, they fire the puck out of their own end all the way down. The Red Wings keep stealing the puck but can’t get a shot at the open net. A minute and a half has gone by and the Lightning have to pull their best players off the ice for some rest.

The Lightning just can’t get a good look as the Red Wings are preventing any kind of consistent offensive possession. Dylan Larkin just misses the empty net on a dump as it hits the side of the net and the Lightning has 29.6 seconds to make something happen. Off the draw, they throw the puck towards the net but the Red Wings clear it out of the zone. As the Lightning get it back into the zone, Jeff Petry tries to clear the puck around the glass but puts it up into the netting. Petry and Mickey Redmond both think it hits the glass but it doesn’t appear to as the Lightning get 11.4 seconds of a power play to end the game. The Red Wings call a timeout to work out a plan off the draw. It’s Larkin-Compher-Seider-Walman on the ice for the penalty kill.

Larkin wins the draw back but they can’t hold the puck behind. The puck gets thrown at the net and there’s a mad scramble in front. After all the chaos, Larkin picks up the puck up and pulls it away into the corner and that’s the game. RED WINGS WIN 2-1 AGAINST TAMPA BAY!!! THE RED WINGS HAVE SLAIN ANOTHER GOALIE DEMON TO TAKE A HUGE WIN OVER THE LIGHTNING AT HOME!!!


It was a huge performance from Detroit against a team they’ll be fighting over a playoff spot with over the next three months. Every win, especially in regulation is huge and beating Andrei Vasilevskiy who played out of his mind is huge. We’ve also proven we can win a game while scoring only two goals which I think is the first time all season that has happened. Just a dominant performance through two periods and then a great team effort to withstand an aggressive Lightning attack in the third. A huge team win continues a great January so far and now the Red Wings will continue their homestand leading to the all-star break with a great win to start it off.

Shoutout to Alex Lyon who made 28 saves, 19 of which came in the third period. Shout to Mo Seider who played a hell of a game as the defensive anchor today. He made so many good defensive plays, multiple times completely shutting down Kucherov, and played over 25 minutes tonight. Also, huge shoutouts to Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond who both played phenomenally. They each scored a goal and probably had the best chances to add more to that total. An overall really fun game as Detroit completes the sweep in Tampa Bay. Also, in 120 minutes of game time, teams from Tampa Bay only led for a total of 9:44 between the two games today. Go Lions and let’s go Red Wings. We will see you in two days when the Red Wings take on the Dallas Stars. Good night y’all.

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