Goaltender Chris Osgood improved his career record against the Tampa Bay Lighting to 16-0 Thursday night, helping his Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win to remain in first place in the National Hockey League.
The Red Wings earned the win without forwards Kirk Maltby or Kris Draper. Draper is expected to miss two weeks with a sprained knee while Maltby - nursing a sore back - sat out for the first time in 189 games.
Detroit got on the board early and never let up, scoring just 3:24 into the game.
The Lighting survived being outshot 17-1 in the first period down by only a goal but they would fall further behind in the second.
Pavel Datsyuk scored a power play goal at 4:04 to put the Red Wings up by a pair. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that was knocked down as Denis fought off a screen by Tomas Holmstrom. Datsyuk grabbed the loose puck from the side of the net and put it in.
Tomas Kopecky, playing in his first game back from a shoulder injury, made it 3-0 3:35 later. Andreas Lilja sprung Kopecky with a long outlet pass to the Tampa Bay blue line. Kopecky broke in on Denis down the right wing and froze him with a shoulder fake before putting the puck into the top of the net.
Brad Richards put the Lightning on the board with 7:57 left in the second. Andreas Lilja couldn't control a dump in behind Osgood's net and the Lightning recovered, working the puck out front to Richards to put into the top corner of the net.
Dan Cleary scored another early-period goal to re-extend the Wings' lead. Just 2:05 into the third, Brett Lebda put a shot from the blue line on Denis. At the top of the crease, Denis kicked it aside, straight to Cleary on the right wing for a shot back into the open net.
Mathieu Darche scored the game's final goal with 3:06 remaining, tipping a Shane O'Brien shot past Osgood from inside the crease.
Osgood stopped 21 of 23 shots to earn his twelfth win of the season. Denis made 35 saves on 39 Detroit shots.
Detroit went one-for-two on the power play and the Lightning did not score on any of their three tries with the extra attacker.
Notes: Mark Hartigan was called up from Grand Rapids replace the injured Maltby. He was sent back to the Griffins after the game.
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