Game 58: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

The Tampa Bay Lightning fell to the Detroit Red Wings 6-2 last night.

The message was clear after the game last night. From Boucher:

"That's the best team we've played all year long, no questions asked."

The Lightning worked hard, and gave it all they had, but Detroit, now totaling 76 points this season, was a faster, fiercer competitor.

"We gave everything we had. Period. We got beat by a better team than us. This is best team in the league."

And for an arena filled with red jerseys, the Red Wings put on a show that didn't disappoint.

Despite the pleasing show of Lightning fans over the past month, which included a packed house on Super Bowl Sunday, Vincent Lecavalier wasn't shocked by the sea of red.

"We're Florida," he said. "First of all there's a lot of people from Michigan that live here now, and there's a lot of people who come down. Especially when it's Florida, and there's great weather, they seem to always come down."

Such good fans that not only do they travel, but they also bring their octopi.

Read more after the jump.

The Wings dominated from the first minute. They had speed, and had no trouble getting through the Lightning line. They carried the puck into the Lightning zone time after time with little trouble. After Danny Clearly scored and early goal for Detroit on the power play, the Lightning had two power play opportunities, six minutes total, but were unable to get anything against the Wing's net to even the scoring. Pavel Datsyuk scored the second goal at 14 minutes to finish the period 2-0.

The Bolts didn't exactly bounce back in the second period. It looked like they were generally outskated and outdone by the Wings, but halfway through the period Victor Hedman scored, taking the puck from Simon Gagne at the blue line and driving it in over Jimmy Howard's left leg to raise the score 2-1.

The Lightning surged for the first time in the game, which resulted in a second goal from Steve Downie to tie the game.

The Lightning proved that they could compete, but Niklas Kronwall followed up with a third goal for Detroit on the Wing's power play, aided by Hedman's skate, followed by a goal from Justin Abdelkader to finish the period at 4-2.

Two more goals from Detroit in the third, from Datsyuk and Darren Helm finished it at 6-2, a sweeping defeat for the Lightning.

"We played a pretty good game," said Vinny, "but obviously that's not good enough against Detroit."

Up Next: The Bolts (34-18-6) will face the Florida Panthers on Saturday, February 19th. If you aren't in attendance, be sure to give the game thread a hello.

Other Recaps:

Red Wings vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Red Wings vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Red Wings vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

Winging It In Motown [SB Nation]