The End: Lightning 2 - Red Wings 0
Game 7s always make me a basket case. There is literally no exception to this rule when the Red Wings are playing. The concept of a single game
Wings had a flurry of shots early in the game, with Henrik Zetterberg looking dangerous. The Wings were strong early, taking a 6-1 lead in shots and carrying play. This led to the Wings getting the game's first PP, but before they could get set up Justin Abdelkader took a not smart interference penalty to negate the PP. Both teams settled in, trading chances while the Lightning began to assert themselves offensively. That resulted in Tampa getting the next PP, and the Wings survived rather than killed it, limiting the Bolts to 3 shots but several good looks. The best chance of the period came late when a puck bounced past the Wings' defense and Tyler Johnson entered the zone with Steven Stamkos on a 2-on-1. Johnson got Petr Mrazek out of position, but a fabulous backcheck by Luke Glendening prevented Stamkos from scoring. The period ended scoreless with the Wings having a 14-7 edge in shots.
The second began and the Wings again took the play to the Lightning, and they were rewarded with a power play early in the period. After a mad scramble and flurry of shots it was the Bolts who got the better chances, with Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson both unable to score on Mrazek. Danny DeKeyser took an interference penalty of his own and the Bolts went to their 3rd PP. The Wings held firm, and the Wings slowly started to get zone time, although they didn't generate a ton of scoring chances. However, Brenden Morrow put the Wings on their 3rd PP, and it was another back-and-forth 2 minutes with both teams getting chances. Tomas Tatar had a glorious opportunity but was unable to score when he lost control of the puck while alone in on Ben Bishop. He got another one right at the end of the period when a Darren Helm pass just missed his stick as time expired. We were scoreless after 2 with the Wings owning a 23-12 advantage in shots.
The third period didn't start well for the Wings. DeKeyser took his second penalty of the game less than a minute in, this time for a puck over the glass that wasn't even close. However, the Wings were up to the task and killed it, making several key blocks despite spending a lot of time in their own zone. Unfortunately, Tampa broke the scoreless tie when a fluttered shot by Braydon Coburn found the top corner behind Mrazek. The Wings tried to counter, and got a few good chances, including from Henrik Zetterberg who buried a shot in Bishop's chest. The lack of urgency in the third period doomed them, and another lucky bounce off of Jakub Kindl ended up in the Wings' empty net, and that was all she wrote.
There's really not a whole lot to say. The Wings left it all on the ice and got further than many thought they would. I truly believe the Wings were the better team not only in this game but in this series, but they made too many mistakes against a very good team, and they paid the ultimate price by having their season ended.
It's hard to be happy at a time like this, but this team is in a good place. There's a lot of good players in place with more on the way, but changes are definitely needed to make this team a contender.