After a frustrating loss on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning bounced back on Sunday, earning a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings and also extended their point streak to six games. Andrei Vasilevskiy was given another day off, while Christopher Gibson made his second appearance during this season. After making 22 stops, including couple of crucial ones during the Red Wings 5-on-3 man advantage late in the third period, Gibson recorded his first NHL victory since 2018.
After a scoreless game on Saturday night, the Lightning clearly didn’t want to wait until another shootout to score a goal, so they started right on the opening shift. The Lightning imposed pressure right after winning the opening face-off. Barclay Goodrow picked up a puck after inaccurate pass by Filip Hronek and found Blake Coleman in front of the net, who opened the scoring with a one-timer.
The Lightning had an opportunity to extend their lead just 15 seconds after scoring the first goal, when Ross Colton and Pat Maroon ran away on a 2-on-1, but Colton decided to shoot, instead of passing to Maroon, who had a wide open net in front of him. Maroon tried to redirect the rebound, but couldn’t handle the puck.
A couple of minutes later it looked like the Red Wings managed to adjust to the Lightning pace and tried to create scoring chances in front of Gibson’s net. Filip Zadina’s opportunity was the closest one as the Czech forward undressed Luke Schenn on his way to the net and was stopped only by Schenn himself, who knocked out the puck from Zadina’s stick. The referees decided not to call it, however it was very close to a tripping penalty.
After slowing down for a short stretch, the Lightning continued to maintain pressure on the opponent. There wasn’t any power play opportunity this period, but it did look like occasionally that the Lightning were playing with man-advantage, as the Bolts were quickly moving the puck around the opponent zone, while Detroit was trying everything to escape from the pressure.
In terms of statistics, the Lightning completely dominated this period. They finished the opening third of the game with massive 1.54 xGF, while allowing just 0.37 xGA at their own end. The Lightning also had 19 shots on goal during this period and created 5 high-danger chances on Jonathan Bernier’s net. Blake Coleman led his team in shots on goal with five attempts.
Yanni Gourde’s line started the second period again and their endeavors resulted in another Lightning goal. The Red Wings weren’t prepared for their irrepressible energy, as they occupied Detroit’s defensive zone, creating a lot of chances. One of Coleman’s shots went wide and Gourde was first to collect the puck behind the net, he then returned the puck to blueline to Mikhail Sergachev, whose shot sneaked into Bernier’s net through traffic in front of him and the Bolts took a 2-0 lead.
In the middle of the second period, both teams exchanged a couple of power play opportunities. First Luke Schenn was called for holding, after pulling down Rasmussen. The Red Wings power play units weren’t particularly dangerous as their most dangerous shot hit Ryan McDonagh’s skate and the Lightning had a shorthanded rush led by Anthony Cirelli. Some time later Gourde drew a penalty, after Joe Veleno hooked him along the boards. The Lightning looked better on that man advantage than their opponent earlier, but also went scoreless.
With six minutes remaining in the second period, the Red Wings cut the Lightning’s lead to one goal. The opportunity started with unsuccessful scoring chance in front of Detroit’s net. Mathieu Joseph missed the net after Colton’s pass to the back post, allowing the Red Wings players to create a 4-on-2 rush. Schenn was caught in between, not deciding, which player he had to defend on that rush and eventually left the space for Zadina, who appeared alone in front of Gibson and scored off Vlad Namestnikov’s feed from left circle.
The Red Wings finished this period on an uplifting note, continuing to apply pressure on the Lightning’s net and creating even more odd-man rushes after scoring the goal. Tampa Bay weren’t as much dominant as in the previous period, but they still remained above the water in most of statistics, including Corsi-For and Expected Goal share. Detroit got closer to the Lightning in terms of shot attempts in all situations, but the Lightning still looked more confident on the ice.
Inspired by scoring a goal late in the second period, the Red Wings tried to continue to build on their success and tie the game during the start of the third period. Detroit controlled the game in the first half of that period, but the Lightning weren’t allowing much around of their net and most of the Red Wings shots weren’t dangerous for Gibson.
The second half of the third period however turned out to be very nervous for the Lightning. With seven minutes to go in the period, Tyler Johnson was sent to the penalty box for interference. Detroit recorded four shots on that power play, forcing Gibson to step up and make a couple of saves during that penalty kill. The power play almost expired, but with 10 seconds left Alex Killorn collided with Zadina in neutral zone and joined Johnson in the penalty box. Right immediately Goodrow fell down while taking a face-off, covered the puck with his hand and got called by officials. The 5-on-3 penalty kill, which initially supposed to be just 10-seconds long, was extended to full two minutes. The Lightning however did a great job on the penalty kill and Gibson kept the lead for his team with some great stops, including the one with his shoulder. Pulling out the goaltender during the final minutes of the game didn’t help Detroit either and the Lightning earned a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon