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The Lightning’s 16-game winning streak over Detroit ends in a shootout

Wayne Masut | The Scrum Sports

Less than 24 hours after a feisty and emotional win over the Boston Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning saw themselves back on the ice for the second half of a back-to-back. The opponent? The Detroit Red Wings, a team that Lightning owned a 16-game regular season winning streak over. This game appeared to have the classic look of a trap game: A tired team coming into town on a back-to-back after a physical game against a rival the night before, on top of the time change that everyone is dealing with.

Despite missing Victor Hedman after he suffered a lower-body injury in Saturday’s win in Boston, the Lightning received good news when Ryan McDonagh rejoined the lineup after missing 14 games. Although Tampa Bay (43-20-6, 92 points) showed no quit despite the turnaround time, they found themselves unable to prevail in the shootout. Robby Fabbri tallied a goal in regulation as well as the shootout winner for Detroit (17-48-5, 39 points), who also received 33 saves from Jonathan Bernier in a 5-4 win for the Red Wings. Tampa Bay saw their 16-game winning streak over the Wings come to an end, but still gained a point in the standings. The Bolts now find themselves six points behind Boston for first place and 13 points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi each notched a goal and three assists while Dylan Larkin finished with a goal and two assists. Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves while Brayden Point scored twice and Carter Verhaeghe and Pat Maroon each chipped in one goal each.

An unsurprising slow start leads to a first-period deficit

While the Lightning didn’t get off to a terrible start in the opening period, their energy level was understandably not up to the same level as the previous night. Tampa Bay did well in spurts in terms of shots and puck possession, yet their puck management also lagged at times. Nowhere was that more evident than when Detroit notched the long goal of the opening period.

Ondrej Palat turned the puck over in the Red Wings’ zone while Fabbri jumped off the bench on a line change. With Luke Schenn jumping up into the play and Zach Bogosian too far out of the play, Bertuzzi took the puck after the turnover and fired a perfect pass to Fabbri, who was already in the neutral zone due to that line change. Fabbri raced in alone on a breakaway and beat McElhinney to the stick side for a 1-0 Detroit lead at 10:11.

The Lightning generated a couple of solid chances when Anthony Cirelli rang one off the post in the first two minutes, followed later on by Bernier turning aside a deflection by Cedric Paquette. The scoring chances for both turned out to be evenly-matched. Both goalies showed up on top of their game despite the low number of chances, with Detroit holding a 15-12 edge in shot attempts and 9-7 lead in shots on goal.

The Lightning rally, but both teams benefit from some puck luck

During the second period, the Bolts appeared to regain their legs and find their rhythm. Tampa Bay regained the edge in puck possession, topping the Wings in shot attempts (23-13) and shots on goal (12-7) at all strengths in the middle 20 minutes. The Lightning’s 5-on-5 play also got considerably better throughout the period, but it was their power play that came through at the 11:11 mark of the period. Nikita Kucherov took a no-look shot from the right circle that Bernier stopped, leading to a rebound. While battling with Patrik Nemeth in front of the net, Tyler Johnson backhanded a pass to Point as Nemeth took him down. Sitting wide open low in the left circle, Point easily fired it into an open net for his 24th of the season, tying the game 1-1.

Verhaeghe put the Bolts up 2-1 at 14:57 of the second when he wheeled around and flipped a simple wrist shot on net. With Blake Coleman providing the screen, the shot bounced off of Wings forward Luke Glendening and past Bernier for Verhaeghe’s ninth of the season. However, the lead didn’t last, as the Red Wings tied it up 2-2 with 15 seconds to go in the period. Larkin led a last-ditch rush up the ice, dishing the puck to Mantha on the right wing. Mantha powered to the net and attempted a pass to the slot. The puck hit McDonagh, playing in his first game since February 6, and bounced into the crease. Larkin pounced on the rebound for his 19th goal of the campaign.

An entertaining third period leads to a point for both teams

A pair of Red Wings goals in the first five minutes propelled Detroit to a 4-2 lead, and it looked like they were taking control. Mantha converted a rebound of his own shot on the power play at 1:41 to put the Wings up 3-2. McDonagh blocked his initial try, and with McElhinney out of position after over-committing, Mantha fired the rebound home. At 4:24, Bertuzzi completed a beautiful give-and-go off a rush with Mantha, converting for his 20th of the season to make it 4-2.

However, the Lightning refused to go away. Point collected the puck in his own zone, looking to make a breakout pass. Seeing a wide-open lane ahead of him, Point instead turned on the afterburners and carried the puck all the way into the Detroit zone off the rush. He fired a shot that took two fortuitous bounces off of Wings defenseman Alex Biega. The initial shot hit the shaft of Biega’s stick and then redirected off of Biega’s leg before looping into the air and over Bernier into the Wings’ net to cut Detroit’s lead to 4-3 at 5:55. Tampa Bay continued plugging away, tying it 4-4 at 11:19 when a Luke Schenn shot from the point led to a rebound following a Bernier save. Pat Maroon bent the twine, knocking home the loose puck for his ninth of the season.

Tampa Bay dominates 3-on-3 overtime, but falls in the shootout.

Despite the shots being 3-3 during the overtime period, the Bolts largely controlled puck possession, creating a couple of really dangerous chances. Even though the Wings had their issues handling the puck in OT, Fabbri nearly won it in the final seconds off a rush, forcing McElhinney to come up with a tough save.

During the shootout, Mikhail Sergachev got the opening goal for the Bolts, but Dylan Larkin countered with one of his for the Wings. With the game on the line after Kucherov missed Tampa Bay’s third attempt, Fabbri ended Detroit’s long losing skid against the Lightning.

Tampa Bay returns to action on Tuesday night when they conclude their three-game road trip with a showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Puck drops at 7:30.

Game Notes

-The Lightning ended the evening with a 37-28 lead in total shots on goal and a 64-54 edge in total shot attempts. At 5-on-5, the shots on goal were 25-22 for the Bolts, while the shot attempts clocked in at 25-22 for Tampa Bay.

-Tonight’s loss was the Lightning’s first regular season loss to the Red Wings since a 2-1 defeat in Detroit on November 3, 2015.

-This game also saw the end of the Bolts’ six-game winning streak in Detroit and their first ever loss at Little Caesars Arena after four straight wins there.

-Tampa Bay’s 16-game regular season winning streak over Detroit had been tied for the longest active streak in the league against one team. The other is Boston’s current 16-game run over Arizona.

-Point has 16 points in 19 games.

-This was the first time McElhinney had been involved in a shootout this season.

Three Stars of the Game

1st Star: Tyler Bertuzzi – One goal and three assists.

2nd Star: Anthony Mantha – One goal and three assists.

3rd Star: Brayden Point – Two goals.

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