Coming into Easter Sunday’s matinee, you had to go back quite a few years to find the last Detroit Red Wings regular season victory in Tampa. It was February 17th, 2011 at the (then named) St. Pete Times Forum.
Tampa Bay’s home arena has changed names twice since then and a lot has happened with the organization itself. They have changed their logo and uniforms, played in 5 Eastern Conference Finals and 2 Stanley Cup Finals, winning the Stanley Cup in 2020. The laws of probability could have told you that Sunday’s result was bound to happen. The more a team wins, the closer it gets to its next loss. The Red Wings came out on a mission and an explosive second period led to Tampa Bay’s impressive streak coming to an end.
Red Wings score first and never look back
With the scoreboard still reading zeroes, Luke Schenn found himself in the penalty box for an inexcusable slashing penalty with 1:15 left in the first period. Prior to the penalty, it was Tampa Bay who created most of the scoring chances in the period. But Wings’ goalie Thomas Greiss stood up to each challenge to keep the Lightning off the board.
Then, with just 13 seconds left in the period, Dylan Larkin beat Tampa Bay reserve goaltender Christopher Gibson to give Detroit a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. But, it would be the middle frame that saw Tampa Bay’s undoing in this game.
After a 3-on-1 one timer opportunity from Steven Stamkos was denied by Greiss, Detroit exploded for 3 goals in less than 3 minutes. First, it was former Bolt Valtteri Filppula and Michael Rasmussen cashing in 29 seconds apart to extend the Wings’ lead to 3-0. Then, Marc Staal got in on the action scoring his 3rd of the season 2:24 later.
History repeats itself in more ways than one
In that game 10 years ago, Victor Hedman got the Lightning on the scoreboard after falling behind 2-0 early. Coincidentally, it was Hedman today who provided the only highlight for the Bolts. Skating in his 800th career game, Hedman took a pass from Stamkos at center point and buried it to cut into the Detroit lead and get the Lightning on the board in the third period.
Your favorite duo! 👯♂️ pic.twitter.com/0wscEtJdf8
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 4, 2021
With the score 4-1 and looking for a spark, Lightning coach Jon Cooper opted to pull Gibson for the extra attacker with 6:10 left in the game. Rather than ignite the offense into another goal, another familiar name from that 2011 contest found the back of the net. Darren Helm, who scored a late third period goal for Detroit in their 6-2 win 10 years ago, sent the puck into Tampa Bay’s empty net to extend the lead to 5-1.
A pair of Danny DeKeyser penalties led to late 6 on 4 power play chances for the Lightning (with Gibson pulled) but ultimately the offense could not generate any production. The final score: 5-1 as the Red Wings snap their 17 game regular season losing streak in Tampa.
The Lightning have a day off tomorrow before heading to Columbus for matchups with the Blue Jackets on Tuesday and Thursday.
- Thomas Greiss
- Anthony Mantha
- Victor Hedman
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