After a questionable offseason, the Red Wings looked to get off on the right foot with a win in Tampa Bay, their dreaded playoff foe. Despite goals from newcomers Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen, Tampa came out on top in a 6-4 win.
The Red Wings got off to the start they needed, as just three minutes in, Vanek scored his first goal as a Red Wing on the power play, jamming home the rebound past Bishop. His success continued, as five minutes later, an excellent Gustav Nyquist pass put him open in front, and he shot the puck past Bishop again (after the shot deflected off of Braydon Coburn’s stick). After that, Detroit sat on their buts for the remainder of the period, with Petr Mrazek having to bail the team out on more than one occasion.
The second period was where the team started to fall back a little bit. 7:23 into the period, and Jonathan Drouin scored the first goal of the season for Tampa Bay on the power play, as an excellent shot went above the shoulder of Mrazek and in the net to cut Detroit’s lead in half. However, it took just 55 seconds for Detroit to respond, as Frans Nielsen was the beneficiary of a failed stick check by Coburn that saw him shovel the puck into his own net, and Detroit had another two goal lead. Five minutes later, Tampa responded again, as a shot from along the boards sneaked through Mrazek’s pads and in, and suddenly the game was 3-2. Things started to get a bit hectic after that, as a minute later, Steven Stamkos drove the net, and a few fights broke out. Brendan Smith fought Andrej Sustr, and Braydon Coburn took care of Steve Ott after Ott tried to fight Drouin.
Things didn’t get much better for the Wings in the third, as three minutes in, Brian Boyle scored a short side snipe on a 2 on 1 to tie the game for the Lightning. Five minutes later, and the Wings were trailing for the first time this season, as right off the faceoff for a power play, Stamkos made a nice pass to Tyler Johnson (past a kneeling Drew Miller and Luke Glendening, no less), who was wide open and had an easy tap in to take the lead. Detroit was looking for the answering goal, but with less than four minutes left, Detroit took a two many men penalty, and the Lightning scored another cross crease power play goal, this time with Alex Killorn being on the right end of a Drouin pass. Game over.
Wait, what’s this? Danny DeKeyser scored on a weird ricochet off the glass past Bishop? Okay, looks like it’s a one goal game again. It didn’t last much longer though, as 44 seconds later, Valtteri Filppula scored on the empty net, and the game was over. For real this team.
As you can tell, it wasn’t a great start to the season for Detroit. Not only did they get outscored, they also got blasted in terms of shot attempts (shout out to the OMG line), finishing with a 40.86% 5v5 CF%.
MOTOR CITY MVP
Mike Green gets the honours for the first game of the season, as was one of the few players that had a good game for Detroit. He had two assists, both of them primary, although one was the fluky DeKeyser goal. Defensively he was sound, with a 60% 5v5 CF%, albeit with slightly favourable zone starts (a 53.33% offensive zone start percentage).
The Wings continue the tough Florida road trip, as they play the Panthers on Saturday at 7:00 pm. You can find the game on Fox Sports Detroit, or Fox Sports Florida.