Postgame Notes: Red Wings @ Lightning – 10/13

Well, this was pretty much the game that I feared, but it didn’t start that way.

The Red Wings came out strong in the first period, which was really good to see.  Thomas Vanek looked fantastic around the net, with two goals to show for it.  The power play moved the puck well, leading to Vanek’s first.  Petr Mrazek was sharp in net.

Then, like too many games last season, all those good things disappeared.

Early in the second period, the Lightning took over.  The Wings were on their heels, taking too many penalties.  Tampa was the faster team.  Yeah, Frans Nielsen got his first goal in a Detroit uniform, but it was on a broken play that you can’t really credit the systems for or anything.  But the Wings still had a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Things only got worse in the third period.  More penalties.  Four goals against.  Only one fluke goal for.

There were good things to take away from this but they were mostly early.  Vanek looked great early on.  Nielsen looked good.  Darren Helm looked fast, as did Dylan Larkin (who seemed to be having trouble controlling the puck).  Mrazek made some amazing stops.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of bad.  Mrazek allowed a couple awful goals.  The penalty kill was 3-for-6 (despite the Wings rolling a fourth line assembled specifically for their PK ability).  Two (TWO!) too many men on the ice penalties.

There was fun with reffing, of course.  Steve Ott squared off with Jonathan Drouin, only for Brayden Coburn to jump in.  But because Drouin hadn’t actually dropped his gloves yet, Coburn wasn’t the third man in.  Later, Steven Stamkos appeared to reach in and grab Jonathan Ericsson while Ericsson fought Ondrej Palat.  No call in either case.

Ott going after Drouin in the first place was pretty stupid, as you had to know the Lightning weren’t going to let a young scorer get into a fight with a grinder.  That’s why fighting doesn’t work as a deterrent, it’s always two fighters going at it because that’s their job.  Likewise, Ericsson going after Palat was ill-advised, cancelling out a pending Detroit power play (that said, as I said via Twitter, it’s rare to see the instigator called in that case, but in retrospect I think it was the right call).

That fourth line that is supposed to make the Wings so much harder to play against and kill all the penalties?  I’ll close with their fancystats courtesy of WIIM’s Prashanth Iyer:

Red Wings Fall to Lightning, Series to Go to Seven

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.

Red Wings Collapse Late, Lightning Rally to Tie Series

With six minutes remaining in regulation in Thursday’s Game Four between the Red Wings and the Lightning, Detroit seemed poised to take a 3-1 series lead. Instead, Tampa Bay scored two quick goals to force overtime and added the game-winner early in the extra period, tying the series at two games apiece.

Momentum shifted when Detroit forward Luke Glendening, who had been opposing Tyler Johnson‘s line from Tampa Bay, left the game with a hand injury. With Glendening off, Johnson’s line scored all three goals.

Johnson got the Lightning on the board with 5:26 remaining, racing past Darren Helm down the left wing and driving to the net, lifting a shot over the shoulder of Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek.

Just 1:17 later it was 2-2 when Ondrej Palat was left alone to drive to the front of the net and take a pass from Johnson, knocking the puck past Mrazek on a give-and-go play.

Johnson won the game for Tampa Bay at 2:25 of the overtime period. On a three-on-one, Victor Hedman sent a crossing pass to Johnson all alone on the left wing for a low-angle shot into the net.

Gustav Nyquist had opened the game’s scoring for Detroit at 5:42 of the second period. Nyquist forced a turnover in the Lightning end that was picked up by Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader passed it on to Henrik Zetterberg to the left of goalie Ben Bishop. With Bishop focusing on Zetterberg, Nyquist got to the back door and took a pass before banging the puck home.

A fluke goal with 5:36 left in the period made it 2-0 for Detroit. Joakim Andersson threw a heavy shot on Bishop from the high slot and Bishop knocked it into the air, then attempted to swat it away with his stick. Instead the puck went back towards the goal, off the post and just barely across the goal line.

Bishop finished the night with 22 saves on 24 shots while Mrazek stopped 26 of 29 chances.

Neither team had a power play goal in four tries with the man-advantage.

Game Five is scheduled for 6:00 PM on Saturday in Tampa.

Red Wings Fall to Lightning in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings dropped to 0-3 on the year in the shootout on Sunday night, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 4-3 score.

Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan scored in the first round of the shootout, the only goal of the tiebreaker and good enough to give the Lightning the win. Callahan drew Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to the right and reached around to tuck the puck past Howard’s left side and into the net.

Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm all failed to score for Detroit while Matthew Carle couldn’t score for Tampa Bay.

Johan Franzen opened the game’s scoring for the Red Wings at 6:14 of the first period. On the faceoff to start a Detroit power play, Henrik Zetterberg won the puck back and Gustav Nyquist jumped in to control it, sending it on to Niklas Kronwall who quickly moved it across the ice to Franzen for a one-timer past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

Steven Stamkos replied for Tampa Bay with 7:07 left in the period, rifling a shot from the high slot past Howard on a power play.

Stamkos did it again just 2:19 into the second period, taking a long pass from Ryan Callahan at the Detroit blue line, then letting Brendan Smith skate past him before snapping a shot past Howard. The goal was initially waved off as the puck bounced out of the net so quickly but video review confirmed that it should count.

Tyler Johnson made it 3-1 in favor of the Lightning at 6:02 of the middle frame, moving all alone into the left faceoff circle to take a feed from Ondrej Palat and fire a shot past Howard.

With 8:23 left in the period, Helm pulled Detroit to back within a goal, blasting a shot from the left wing past Bishop on a power play.

Nyquist scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to even things up at 8:49 of the third period. Gaining the Tampa Bay zone on the right wing, Nyquist skated around two Lightning defenders as he cut to the top of the opposite faceoff circle and snapped a shot past Bishop to make it 3-3.

Bishop finished the night with 17 saves on 20 Detroit shots. Howard stopped 27 of the 30 chances he faced.

Detroit went two-for-four on the power play while the Lightning went one-for-five.

The Red Wings are now off until they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.


Detroit remained without forward Pavel Datsyuk, nursing a groin injury… Kyle Quincey returned to the lineup, having recovered from an ankle injury. Brian Lashoff was a healthy scratch to make room for him… Tomas Jurco was the lone healthy scratch at forward.