The Tampa Bay Lightning won an all-time wild game in Detroit against the Michigan team’s home opener in overtime. While Tyler Bertuzzi scored four goals, Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored twice alongside goals from Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Ross Colton. Victor Hedman led the way with four assists, while Kucherov also took home four points after scoring and adding three assists of his own.
As a boring first period exploded into a mess of a second period, which percolated into the third, the Lightning clawed themselves back from big deficit to big deficit to come all the way back in overtime to win the game. Funnily enough, each period ended with the score within one goal, so while the Red Wings had two three-goal leads, it was always close.
To summarize the game for you, here’s how the score swung back and forth:
0-3 —> 1-4 —> 3-4 —> 3-6 —> 7-6
Who could’ve predicted that!
Beyond the wild swings in goals, there was a lot of nastiness. Not only was only 37 minutes of this overtime game played at 5v5, meaning there was 27 minutes of special teams, but Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin was given a match penalty for intent to injure Mathieu Joseph, and will likely result in a suspension for him.
Joseph got the first chance of the game. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare did a great job of finding Joseph in the neutral zone leading to a shorthanded breakaway for him against Alex Nedeljkovic. He deked to the right but was stopped through the five-hole with Ned’s stick.
Larkin, however, opened the scoring with a shot from a long way out that knuckled past Vasilevskiy and bounced into the net. An unfortunate goal but not a major failure by any of the skaters, just bad luck and “stuff happens” sometimes with the guy in net. It was a good story for the Red Wings, who celebrated Larkin as their new captain after announcing him last season in front of no fans, but it also put the Lightning down in the game.
Kucherov and Brayden Point had some chances throughout the period, but especially later in the frame, with Nedeljkovic stopping their one-two rebound chances with some good sprawling saves.
On the lone Bolts power play in the period, the first unit was generally very good at their all-important perimeter passing to create lanes in the middle of the ice. Stamkos had a shot that was blocked and Point was set up for some quick moves in tight but he was shut down immediately.
Shots were 15-9 for the Lightning in the first period as they held about 60% of the shots, chances, and expected goals at 5v5. A lot of the damage came from the duos of Stamkos-Kucherov and Joseph-Perry.
Okay, here came a pretty goal as Tyler Bertuzzi split Mikhail Sergachev and Hedman with a deke through the legs before beating Vasilevskiy high. Not much you can say about that other than tighter gaps on 1-on-1s.
There was a weird play in the middle of the second period when the Red Wings dumped the puck into the offensive zone and as the puck was in the air, Andrej Sustr accidentally knocked the puck into the stands. After a long deliberation and lobbying from the coaches, he got a penalty for delay of game. The Red Wings were suddenly really aggressive on the power play and came at the Lightning with a lot of speed. Then, Bertuzzi flew into Vasilevskiy, causing a massive scrum where everyone found a partner and starting jawing at each other. After a couple more players left for the penalty box, Joseph got himself another shorthanded breakaway, nearly being Nedeljkovic again but shooting the puck high.
And then later on that power play the Red Wings tripled the lead with Bertuzzi again from the slot.
Ondrej Palat got the Lightning on the board in the very next shift, finding a floating cross-ice pass from Victor Hedman. I don’t know if Hedman saw Palat coming or if he just missed Point who was going to the net. Either way, a pass and a goal to get the Lightning back in the game.
And then the incident between Joseph and Larkin happened. Hard on the forecheck, Joseph knocked Larkin into the glass with a high hit. Larkin was immediately incensed and whipped out his right arm for a massive punch on Joseph. A scrum started immediately as Joseph was down from the surprise attack. Eventually the dust settled (or the hockey equivalent of that), the refs called minor penalties to Joseph for roughing, Jan Rutta for roughing after the altercation, and a match penalty (including five minutes shorthanded) to Larkin for intent to injure. We’ll have more on this in our upcoming Lightning Round morning articles, but this is either an automatic suspension or one will definitely get applied.
The result of that was a 4-on-3 power play for the Red Wings for two minutes, followed by a 5-on-4 power play for the Lightning for three minutes.
The Red Wings scored on their power play, and it was Bertuzzi with the hat trick.
Nedeljkovic made some huge saves on Kucherov on the power play late in the game but it was eventually Stamkos who smashed a puck through the net with the man advantage, bringing the lead back down to two.
Stamkos again! Another power play goal, but this time off the zone entry and an early pass from Kucherov down to the bottom of the circle for Stamkos to wire home. What a goal, The Captain is still a very special player.
Teeeeeechnically nothing changed, but that second period was A Lot. There was only seven minutes of 5v5 hockey, but the Lightning did lead in all situations shots.
And then after a calming second intermission, the Lightning came out and got an early power play. Despite a couple looks, they didn’t maintain zone time at all and a lot of momentum swung the direction of the Red Wings. On the following two shifts this happened:
Tyler Bertuzzi scored his fourth goal of the game after retrieving a dump in. Sergachev backed off into the front of the net, leaving lots of space for Bertuzzi, who walked up into for a better angle on Vasilevskiy, which he capitalized on.
And then old friend Vladislav Namestnikov got another one from the front of the net after no one picked him up walking right down the slot. Colton had to be much better on the play and the defense had to be more aware of who was around them. Such a mess.
Heading into the third, I could’ve seen the Lightning score on or two goals to tie or even lead the game for the first time. But after giving up two goals in quick succession, it seemed almost impossible for them to score three in about 10 minutes.
Ross Colton scored his first goal of the season (and second in three games) after being left all alone in front of the net. He actually whiffed his first chance but got it good with his second attempt, making the game a little bit more interesting.
Umm, am I wrong? Because Nikita Kucherov scored on the power play with three minutes to go in regulation, putting all the pressure back on the Red Wings and making the game a game again. It was a great pass from Hedman to leave Kucherov a wide open cage to shoot at.
I am wrong! Tie game! Alex Killorn putting away another goal from in tight with only two minutes to go. Nedeljkovic, who despite giving up six goals was really good in this game, was caught out of position and looked visibly upset with himself over the mistake that cost his team the win.
Yeah I said it, overtime!
The Bolts played the 3v3 brilliantly, holding possession in the offensive zone for a full two minutes, killing the legs of the Red Wings players who were left out there while the Bolts cycled four lines in that time.
And there it is! Despite clearing the puck, Palat scored on the next offensive attempt after another pass from Hedman! Wow, what a game.