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Game 50: Special teams make the difference as Lightning beat Red Wings 3-1

The Tampa Bay Lightning cashed in on two of four power play chances while successfully killing off the two penalties called against them in beating the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena.

J.T. Brown moves the puck in the Lightning's 3-1 win over the Red Wings Wednesday night in Tampa.
J.T. Brown moves the puck in the Lightning's 3-1 win over the Red Wings Wednesday night in Tampa.
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in Tampa Wednesday night.

The first game back after the all-star break was a something's-gotta-give, "four-point" game as the Lightning and Red Wings both came in with 58 points and the Bolts holding a tiebreaker edge for second place in the Atlantic Division. Lightning special teams proved to be the deciding factor with a 50% power play and 100% penalty kill on the night, to begin the second (less-than) half by putting some distance between the two, at least for the time being.

"Obviously tied with these guys right now, these home games you have to take care of. They (Detroit) kind of took it to us the first couple games this season so it's nice to return the favor here, especially in front of these fans and it's nice to keep those other ones quiet." - Ben Bishop

Following a scoreless first period, during which Tampa Bay was outshot 10-4, J.T. Brown got the Lightning on the board first, scoring with help from Braydon Coburn.

"I just kind of waited it out a little too long on the play. I put myself behind the net and didn't have much of an option but then (Coburn) found me back door with a pretty good pass." - Brown

Detroit tied the game at 5:06 when Gustav Nyquist scored into an essentially empty net following a rebound off of a shot by Tomas Tatar. Kyle Quincey contributed the secondary assist.

Bishop was perfect in net the rest of the way, eventually stopping 24 of the 25 shots that came his way.

The Lightning would re-take the lead just a minute and 24 seconds after the Nyquist goal, with Tyler Johnson scoring on a the power play, thanks to assists from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman.

The period ended with the Lightning up 2-1.

At 3:23 of the third, Kucherov closed out the scoring on another power play goal, with Ondrej Palat assisting.

The current homestand continues Friday when the Lightning host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game notes:

  • This was the third of four regular season matchups between Tampa Bay and Detroit, with Detroit currently having won the first two,
  • Detroit's regular season winning streak against the Lightning was broken at three games.
  • Tampa Bay's home winning streak is now at seven games.
  • There was a level of stretch run, if not playoffs, intensity to this one, as the Lightning blocked 16 shots, paced by Andrej Sustr with four.
  • Bishop picked up his 100th win as a member of the Lightning.
  • Palat played in his 200th NHL game.
  • "Yeah, I felt good all day today and I thought it was one of my better games. My body physically feels good after that break so I just have to keep building off that and get the confidence." - Johnson
  • The Lightning honored Margaret Palmer as the 26th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game. Palmer, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Hillsborough House of Hope and Gracepoint Mental Health Care. Tonight's community hero has shown compassion and dedication for suffering women in prisons throughout Hillsborough County. Palmer began her service as a CHAT (Come Hideaway and Talk) lady. For 20 years, she offered incarcerated women a chance to vent feelings and troubling thoughts. After coming to the realization that many women were returning to prison due to lack of stable, drug-free and supportive community housing, she decided to take action by creating the Hillsborough House of Hope with assistance from community partners such as Hyde Park United Methodist Church. Since the non-profit's inception, at least 160 women have been given the opportunity to have their lives changed forever. 78 of these women were able to make full use of this program and became sober. Palmer intends to continue assisting incarcerated women with one-on-one interaction in order for them to fully recover. Palmer becomes the 205th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $10.4 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.