The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday night.
It’s been a while since Lightning fans have seen their team dominate an opponent from start to finish, and neither starting goaltender was around to see the ending, as the Lightning did all the nitty-gritty things a team gutted by injuries and bad luck has to do to come out on top.
“It’s just one game. So, we needed to start off this little rut of home games, and we had to play with desperation. I thought we did that. There’s a lot we can build off this, no question. Really proud of the effort the guys gave tonight. Our game, it started out west, and our game’s getting better. I know it didn’t pay off with two points against Edmonton, but as that game went on, we just kept going tonight and it was really good to see.
“But, ultimately, bank those points. Good job fellas. We got two more before the break and we got a St. Louis team that gave us a tough time up there, but we felt good about our game when we played them and (we’re) looking forward to another crack.” - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
The Lightning got off to a good start, generating opportunities and getting the puck in front of the net during the first two minutes.
The Lightning opened the scoring on their third shot of the game at 7:02 when Brian Boyle’s deflection of an Anton Stralman shot caromed off the inside of the goal post to beat Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard. Jonathan Drouin picked up the secondary assist.
At 12:14, Ben Bishop twisted to make a stop on a shot from Nick Jensen and fell down, and was unable to leave the ice for an additional skater on a delayed tripping call on Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson. Bishop made it to the bench on his own power when play stopped, and was replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop had stopped all four shots he’d faced and Vasilevskiy went on to make 22 saves on the 23 shots that came his way over the remainder of the game.
The period ended with the Lightning holding the 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings found themselves without their starting netminder at 5:39 of the second. Jimmy Howard fell backward awkwardly when the Lightning’s Erik Condra crashed the net, a situation aggravated when he was unable to get out from under, ironically, teammate Nick Jensen. Howard needed assistance getting off the ice and was replaced by Petr Mrazek. Howard ended the night with 15 saves on 16 shots, while Mrazek surrendered three goals on 15 attempts.
Drouin cashed in on a five-on-three power play at 7:41, getting assistance from Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson.
There were a tone of penalties called in the middle session, with each team being whistled for four infractions apiece. One of which was an absolutely absurd call against Valtteri Filppula for embellishment after being tripped by Xavier Ouellet. However the Lightning penalty kill was perfect on the night, going five-for-five on the night, including 39 seconds of five-on-three.
"Our penalty kill we have been talking about for a while now. It's going down in the standings a little bit, and we know it, so tonight to kill those penalties and a 5-on-3 is huge. We're definitely happy about this one." - Drouin
Meanwhile, the Lightning struck again with the man advantage, registering a second power play goal at 17:04, with Brayden Point notching his third goal of the season. Johnson got the primary assist and Victor Hedman picked up the secondary, the 200th assist of his NHL career.
Each of the three goals scored up to this point benefited directly from Boyle’s hard-working presence in front of the Detroit net.
As the period drew to a close, Point sprung Vladislav Namestnikov and Killorn on a sudden mini-breakaway that saw Namestnikov beat Mrazek at 19:27.
The Lightning held a healthy 4-0 lead going into the final period.
With just 11 seconds remaining, the Red Wings Anthony Mantha ruined the Lightning’s combined shutout bid, tapping in a rebound on a shot by Jensen that skittered through the crease. Henrik Zetterberg was credited with the second assist.
The Lightning will play six of their next seven games at home, continuing Thursday when they host the St. Louis Blues.