The Detroit Red Wings had their chance to finish off the Lightning at home and couldn’t do it, as Tampa Bay earned a 5-2 win in Game Six to force a Game Seven back in Tampa.
It is the second first-round series of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs to reach a deciding seventh game, as the Washington Capitals finished off the New York Islanders at home on Monday night.
Tyler Johnson opened the game’s scoring just 3:47 into the game. Victor Hedman sent a long pass from his own goal line to Nikita Kucherov in the neutral zone, who dished it off to Johnson streaking into the Detroit end. Johnson drove in undefended on Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek and lifted a shot over him for a 1-0 lead.
With 8:50 remaining, Jason Garrison made it 2-0, jumping up to turn a three-on-three rush into an odd-man opportunity and snapping a shot from the high slot past Mrazek.
Johnson struck again at 9:09 of the second period, beating Mrazek on a shot from the slot off a long pass from Ondrej Palat on a bad Detroit line change.
The Red Wings got on the board with 7:34 remaining in the middle period as Tomas Tatar snapped a shot from the left faceoff circle past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop for a power play goal.
Tatar pulled Detroit to within a goal just 1:39 into the third, controlling the puck in front of the net until Bishop opened up his five-hole and then sliding it into the net.
Alex Killorn ended Detroit’s comeback hopes with 5:09 remaining, taking advantage of a Marek Zidlicky turnover at the Red Wings’ blueline to break in on Mrazek and beat him high.
Cedric Paquette added an empty net goal to finish off the scoring.
Game Seven will be on Wednesday at 7:30 PM.