We've said it many times.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to be a playoff team, they're going to have to be more competitive against the best the Eastern Conference has to offer.
After realignment put the Detroit Red Wings in the newly formed
Flortheast Atlantic Division, the road to a winning record in-division seemed like a treacherous one, with 2012-2013 playoff teams like the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the aforementioned Red Wings as regular opponents.
The overall record for Tampa Bay in Detroit against the Red Wings -- the model franchise for the Bolts since GM Steve Yzerman took over -- has been noted in more than one place:
That's #tblightning's 2nd win, ever, at Joe Louis Arena. 1-13-0 with 1 tie lifetime there before tonight.— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) November 10, 2013
Lightning guaranteed a point. Only third time ever gaining points in Detroit. Entered game 1-13-0 with a tie.— Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) November 10, 2013
This game marks just the second time in #tblightning history they will gain at least a point in Detroit 1-13-1 all-time coming in— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) November 10, 2013
Needless to say, it was quite apparent what was at stake today in Detroit -- a new beginning for a new organization against a team that had dominated the Bolts for Tampa Bay's entire existence.
The Red Wings were able to jump out the early lead with an unassisted goal by Henrik Zetterberg after Steven Stamkos made an area clear to the center of the ice, where the Lightning had two people awaiting the outlet pass. Unfortunately, that's exactly what they were doing -- waiting -- and Zetterberg stepped into the pass and fired a slap shot past Ben Bishop to give the Wings a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Malone evened things up for the Bolts after a (yet another) wraparound attempt was stuffed by Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard. Malone picked up his own rebound alone on the right side of the net and put it away high over Howard to make things 1-1.
Detroit then had what seemed like an incredible opportunity to take the lead in the second period following a flurry of penalties by the Lightning including a 4-minute double minor by Nate Thompson. But the Lightning were able to kill all 8 minutes of power play time for the Wings off, and just after the final penalty expired, Steven Stamkos found himself alone with the puck on the right wing and snapped it over Jimmy Howard's shoulder to give Tampa Bay an unexpected 2-1 lead.
In the third period, after Howard stopped a partial breakaway for Tyler Johnson, the Wings got even and secured themselves a point in the standings when Zetterberg found a loose puck on the right wing after a dump in. He was again able to find room behind Ben Bishop with a slap shot, evening the score at 2-2.
That sent the game to overtime despite a terrific road effort from the Bolts. But with just over a minute remaining before this tilt would head to the skills competition, Richard Panik robbed defenseman Kyle Quincey behind the Detroit net and fed an open Teddy Purcell for a quick wrist shot from the slot that beat Howard and gave the Lightning their first win in Detroit since January of 1994.
The win puts the Lightning at 12-4 for the season and in sole leadership of the Atlantic Division (and Eastern Conference) with 24 points in 16 games played.
- This was Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula's first game in Detroit as a member of the Lightning, after a 9-year career with the Red Wings. He had zero points and 6 shots on goal in 21:05 of ice time as he continues to anchor the second line for the Bolts. His replacement in Detroit -- former Florida Panther Stephen Weiss -- did not play due to injury. He has just 3 points in 17 games played with the Red Wings this season.
- The win was the first one in Detroit for the Lightning since January 12, 1994, breaking a 0-11-1 drought in the Great Lakes State.
- The Lightning carried play for much of the night, ending up with 57.3% of all shot attempts (Corsi) as opposed to Detroit's 42.7%, following a late third-period surge that saw the Bolts take control of the game, momentum that carried into the overtime 4v4 session.
- Nate Thompson had a stunning night possession wise. Perhaps in part due to his long stint in the penalty box in the second period, he ended the night with a Fenwick For% of 90.9%, as he was on the ice for just one Detroit unblocked shot attempt at 5v5 in his 10:24 of time on ice while on the ice for 10 Tampa Bay unblocked shot attempts.
- Ben Bishop, who continues to be spectacular, was impressive again, particularly on lengthy Detroit power play opportunities. He finished the night stopping all 8 Red Wing shots on goal with the man advantage for a perfect 1.000 PK save percentage.
- Jon Cooper scratched Pierre-Cedric Labrie, BJ Crombeen, and Keith Aulie, deploying a new 11 forward, 7 defenseman lineup. While Mark Barberio had been Eric Brewer's regular partner in recent games, he played poorly against the Wings and finished with just 7:04 in time on ice. Andrej Sustr was Brewer's more regular partner, skating 12:47 on the right side of the bottom pairing.
- Steven Stamkos scored his 14th goal of the season, pulling him into a tie for the league lead with St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen. His 23rd point also put him atop the NHL's overall scoring race, in a tie with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby.
- Ben Bishop's 11th win on the season puts him in the league lead for wins among goaltenders.
- In the third period and OT combined, the Lightning outshot the Red Wings 13-5, including 4-0 in the extra session.