Wings Postgame: Taking One Right in the Johnson

It wasn’t a must-win game for Detroit, but it might as well have been. The Wings didn’t want to head home with a 2-0 series deficit, but that’s what they got, as the Killorn – Johnson – Kucherov line would light them up in a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2.

THE RUNDOWN

The teams picked up right where they left off, as it was a fast paced start. Detroit had the edge in shots, but Tampa Bay had all of the scoring chances to start. The strong play from the Bolts led to some undisciplined penalties from Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader, and Tampa would have a 5 on 3, which they would capitalize on for the opening goal off of a one-timer from the red hot Nikita Kucherov. 

The second didn’t start much better, as Dylan Larkin took an early penalty, and it looked like the Wings might be putting themselves in a whole. But, a strong penalty kill would build some momentum. Shortly after, Jonathan Ericsson would attempt a stretch pass to Larkin, who would only get enough to tip it in and prevent an icing. But Larkin turned on the jets, and was the first to the puck, that had bounced off of the boards, and was sitting in front of the net, and would fire it through Ben Bishop’s legs to tie the game. But it was a tie that wouldn’t last for long, as midway through the third, Jonathan Drouin would set up Brian Boyle on a 3 on 2 to give Tampa a 2-1 lead. The remainder of the period was stagnant, as there wasn’t much action leading into the intermission.

Early in the third, Nikita Nesterov would high stick Nyquist to put Detroit on the power play again. This time, they’d score, as Brad Richards would wrist one past Bishop to tie the game at 2-2. However, like the last time, the tie wouldn’t last, and Alex Killorn would patiently wrap the puck around, and Tyler Johnson would tap the puck in the net to regain the lead for Tampa. Detroit would press hard for the tying goal, but it wouldn’t get much better, as Johnson would score again to take a 4-2 lead late in the third. Killorn would score the empty net goal, and Tampa would win 5-2. There was a brawl late in the game, which saw Abdelkader take several (unnecessary) punches at Mike Blunden, which may get a look at from Player Safety.

THE BREAKDOWN


You can’t fault anyone on the ice for this goal. They couldn’t be aggressive because that would mean one or two players would be wide open, and Howard was constantly moving, which isn’t an ideal situation for a goalie’s positioning. Only people you can get mad at is Nyquist and Abdelkader for taking the penalties, and putting the Wings in this situation.

All the credit goes to Larkin. Even though Ericsson got it up to Larkin, it was basically an icing without a tip in from D-boss. Not only that, but Larkin had the speed to get to the puck first, and he fired it home.

Another tough one to give a fault to. You could blame Glendening for the turnover, but it was off of an attempted shot. You could blame Howard, but he hadn’t even finished moving by the time the puck was in the net. You could blame Quincey or Green, but they handled that 3 on 2 as best as they could. You could blame Andersson, but he isn’t fast enough to make it back to cover Boyle.

This goal is all because of Richards. He won the faceoff to get the play started, and then finished it off by scoring the goal.

I feel like the fact that all five Red Wings were either on the goal line or in the crease, and yet Johnson was the closest to the net (including Howard) should speak miles about this goal. At least Larkin hit Johnson, unfortunately just a second too late.

I could accuse Glendening of completely ignoring the puck as he went to the bench, but as someone who hates it when injured players feel like they need to stay on the ice, that would make me a hypocrite. Instead, I feel like Marchenko could have done a better job of covering Kucherov, likewise with Richards on Johnson.

THE STATS

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Much like Game 1, the Red Wings came flying out of the gate, but Bishop would stand tall early on. Then, the Lightning woke up, and it was over for the Wings. The Wings would finish with a 48.61% CF.

MOTOR CITY MVP

The best player for the Wings tonight was Dylan Larkin. Not only was he one of the better possession players at even strength, with a 56.25% 5v5 CF, but he also scored on a nice goal that displayed his speed. He also kicked things off with a hit on Drouin.

UP NEXT

The Red Wings look to rebound at home, as Game 3 will take place in Detroit on Sunday at 7:00 pm.

  • SEER

    Wings just don’t seam to look the same. Players got old fast and no players able to take over.

    Time to assess whether this team does complete rebuild or try stay competitive in this league.

    • Nick Seguin

      Why does it have to be one or the other? The Wings could do a “soft rebuild” while staying competitive. Realistically, they are just one or two pieces away from being a seriously dangerous team. Nothing a smart trade or an off-season free agent signing (wink, wink) couldn’t achieve.