Postgame: Red Wings @ Lightning – Game 2

There might be stats that show that this game was close. I don’t know, I turned my TV off once it was over and I’m not looking it up. At the very least, the Wings had a good amount of shots, so based on that you might say they were right in it until the end.

But lets be serious here: The Lightning – without Stamkos, without Stralman – have yet to have a reason to be afraid of the Red Wings. If you’re a Wings fan (and if you’re reading this, I imagine you are), you’re probably holding your breath every other shift that Tyler Johnson spends in the Detroit zone. But if you’re, for some reason, a Lightning fan, is there anyone or any line or any situation that worries you like that?

The Red Wings just don’t look like a threat out there.

That said, they always say it’s not a series until one team wins on the road. Nevermind the fact that the Wings will lose the series if they only win at home, but we come back to Detroit for Game Three on Sunday and with home ice the Red Wings have a chance to get right back in the series.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Lightning – Game 1

Though they may not deserve it, the Red Wings open their 25th consecutive trip to the playoffs in Tampa tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

These two teams met in the opening round last year, with Tampa Bay rallying from down 3-2 in the series to win in seven games, but there are some differences this year.

For the Red Wings, Jimmy Howard has reclaimed the starting role in goal. Forward Brad Richards – who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs with the Lightning during their Stanley Cup run in 2004 – joined Detroit in the offseason. Mike Green is in on the blueline with Marek Zidlicky having moved on to the New York Islanders. Landon Ferraro is now in Boston. Rookies Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou will be making their playoff debuts.

For the Lightning, a powerhouse team has been crippled by injuries. Forward Steven Stamkos is likely to miss the entirety of the playoffs with blood clots. Anton Stralman is out on the blue line. Tyler Johnson – who the Red Wings couldn’t contain last year – is questionable for Game One. Victor Hedman is returning from injury.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are a perfect split 17-17 all-time in Game One of the playoffs coming off a loss in their last game of the regular season.

As previously mentioned, Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Red Wings opposite Ben Bishop of the Lightning. Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, and Brendan Smith will be healthy scratches for Detroit.

Game time is 7:00 on FSD and NBCSN.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Rangers – 4/9

“Red Wings Back Into Playoffs.”

That was the headline I thought about running instead of just doing my usual postgame thoughts formula. Double-meaning, eh? For the 25th consecutive year, they’re back into the playoffs. And they certainly backed into them.

Needing a win to control their own destiny, following a woeful loss against the Bruins on Thursday in a game in which they could have clinched, the Red Wings came out relatively flat against the Rangers. Sure, they kind of scored first, with call-up Joakim Andersson banging a loose puck in behind Antti Raanta on a play that was deemed to be offsides upon review, but they weren’t pressuring the Blueshirts at all for the first twenty minutes and ended the period down a goal.

They got better as the game continued, so that’s a positive. In the end, Jeff Blashill pulled Jimmy Howard for the extra skater at a ridiculous time, they gave up and empty-net goal, scored with an empty net to pull back within one, then completely blew twenty seconds of a six-on-three opportunity to lose the game.

And a few minutes later, the Ottawa Senators finished blowing out the Boston Bruins, giving the Red Wings the third seed in the Atlantic Division and a second-consecutive first-round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I’ve said repeatedly that this team does not deserve to make the playoffs. I still think that’s true. Thankfully, though, enough other teams didn’t deserve to make them that the Wings got in anyway.

The Lightning will be without Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman and possibly Tyler Johnson. Aside from a blowout in their last meeting, the Wings played them close all season. It could be a good matchup. I don’t think it will be, given the Red Wings’ play in the last six weeks, but we’ll see.

Red Wings Win Second Consecutive Game with 2-1 Victory over Lightning

With 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, the Detroit Red Wings have consecutive victories for the first time since winning three games in a row to start the season.

Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin‘s early third period marker stood up as the game-winner, the second of his career. Breaking down the right wing, Larkin dropped the puck to Justin Abdelkader as he gained the Tampa Bay zone and immediately got it back, then drove towards the net and fired a shot that deflected off the stick of defenseman Braydon Coburn and under goalie Ben Bishop‘s elbow.

After a scoreless first period, Riley Sheahan had opened the game’s scoring for the Red Wings at 2:02 of the second. Gaining the Lightning zone with speed, Sheahan split the defense and snapped a shot from the high slot past Bishop for the 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay would tie things up while skating on a five-on-three with 4:02 left in the middle period. Steven Stamkos‘ initial shot rang off the post and Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard slid into position to block Tyler Johnson‘s rebound chance, but the puck went right to Nikita Kucherov to bang into the open side of the net to make it 1-1.

The Lightning finished the night one-for-four on the power play while the Red Wings went scoreless on three tries with the extra man.

Howard made 29 saves on 30 shots. Bishop stopped 27 of the 29 chances he faced.

The Red Wings will look to make it three in a row on Friday when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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, Series Even at 1-1

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 5-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Lighting in Game Two of their Atlantic Division Semifinal matchup on Saturday.

The defense and goaltending that led Detroit to a win in Game One wasn’t there to save them in Game Two, leading to the series now tied at a game apiece.

Tyler Johnson opened the game’s scoring just 3:05 in on a Tampa Bay power play. Johnson picked up the rebound of a shot off the goal post in the circle to Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek‘s left and snapped it back into the net.

It was 2-0 at 7:56 of the second period when Alex Killorn beat Mrazek thanks to a fortunate bounce. Ryan Callahan attempted to pass the puck from the left wing through the high slot but Red Wings defender Alexey Marchenko got in the way. The puck bounced off Marchenko and fluttered right to Killorn, wide open at the edge of the crease. His initial shot went into the side of the net but he collected the puck and lifted it over a sprawling Mrazek.

Andrej Sustr was left wide open in the slot to take a pass from former Red Wing Valtteri Filppula and snap a shot past Mrazek with 5:12 left in the middle period for a 3-0 lead.

Johnson’s second of the afternoon made it 4-0 with 38 seconds left. Johnson broke in on Mrazek all alone after Nikita Kucherov knocked down Danny DeKeyser to turn a two-on-one into a breakaway, with Johnson faking out Mrazek in close.

Tomas Tatar scored Detroit’s only goal of the game at 5:49 of the third period, deflecting a Kyle Quincey shot past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop from a low angle.

Filppula rounded out the game’s scoring with a power play with with 4:34 remaining. Racing down the left wing, Filppula fired a shot on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard – who replaced Mrazek to start the third period – and snapped his own rebound into the back of the net.

Tampa Bay scored two power play goals on four chances after going scoreless on seven tries in Game One. Detroit didn’t score on any of their four attempts with the extra skater.

Mrazek finished with 14 saves on 18 shots in two period of play while Howard stopped 11 of the 12 chances he faced and Bishop stopped 23 of 24 shots.

Game Three will be on Thursday in Detroit.


Detroit head coach Mike Babcock announced after the game that Mrazek will start Game Three and that injured forward Justin Abdelkader is expected to return.

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.