Wings Post-Game: Struck By Lightning

The Detroit Red Wings headed into their toughest week of the season yet as the Tampa Bay Lightning strolled into town Monday night. Though it would be their sixth game of the season, it’s only the second in Little Caesars Arena. After a 4-2 victory to open the arena, the Wings looked to get a bit of a LCA steak going. It would be tough, as it always is against the Lightning, but let’s see how they made out.

The Rundown

The Wings came strong out the gate. Through the first half of the first period, they were all over the play, outshooting Tampa 9-4. Some momentum was gained on a massive hit by Luke Witkowski on Mikhail Sergachev. Alex Killorn took a retaliation penalty for it and Detroit got some chances on the powerplay, most notably on a breakaway by Henrik Zetterberg. Unfortunately, it was the Lightning who struck first on a different Red Wings powerplay. At 10:45 of the first period, Tyler Johnson took advantage of a very poor Red Wings zone entry. He blasted past Trevor Daley for a breakaway and buried it past Jimmy Howard.

Shortly after that, Marty Frk was sitting in the box for a holding call and that opened up the ice for the Lightning’s snipers. Nikita Kucherov buried a snapshot from the top of the faceoff circle. It was incredible accuracy.

From then on, Tampa had all of the momentum. It got rough at the end of the period as Vladimir Namestnikov took a penalty for a very dangerous board against Martin Frk. The powerplay didn’t last long, though, as Justin Abdelkader took a weak slashing call 21 seconds into the second period.

4-on-4 play yielded no offense, but as soon as Abdelkader came out of the box, the excitement started. Abby was hit with a stretch pass and in alone on Vasilevskiy. His shot was stopped and he crashed into the goalie, but Helm followed up on the rebound and buried the puck. Tampa Bay challenged for goaltender interference. The goal was reversed, but Tampa was going to the box for a hook on the Abby breakaway. Then, the refs pulled Killorn out of the  box because the play would actually be a penalty shot since Abdelkader was on a breakaway!

Wow. Who knew Abby had hands like that?! After this goal, Detroit started to play a little better. Tampa took a few more penalties and the Wings continued to put pressure on them. Finally, with 3:52 to go in the period, Mike Green picked up his own rebound in the slow and buried it past Vasilevskiy. It was a beautiful goal that couldn’t have happened without the work put in by Tomas Tatar.

That was Green’s first goal of the season and his ninth point in six games. It’s been a fantastic start for the right-handed defenseman.

The third period didn’t get off to the best start for the Red Wings as Jonathan Ericsson made a blatantly terrible giveaway in front of the net. What resulted was a shot from Tampa Bay from the side of the net and Nikita Kucherov getting a piece of the rebound. The puck just trickled through Jimmy Howard.

Told you it was bad.

After that goal, Detroit just couldn’t get anything going. There was one notable chance from Nick Jensen that Vasilevskiy turned away and another where Mantha hit the post, but neither were enough to tie the game up. This one would end with a final score of 3-2 for the Lightning. Luckily, the Wings will get a chance for revenge soon, as they are in Tampa Bay next Thursday, October 26, 2017.

The Stats

Honestly, the Wings didn’t have too bad of a game here. From a Corsi perspective, they kept the play heading in Tampa Bay’s direction. They did outshoot the Lightning 31-26 and, if it weren’t for a few select defensive gaffes, could have left LCA with a different outcome. Unfortunately, they didn’t convert as much on the chances as they needed to and it resulted in the 3-2 loss.

As far as this chart goes, though, it’s a positive outlook against a team that is supposed to be much better than them.

Motor City MVP

Tonight’s Motor City MVP is the man who had the game turn around on his stick. I have to be honest, when I saw that they were giving Abdelkader a penalty shot, I groaned. Why couldn’t it have been Zetterberg or Tatar? But boy did Abby prove me wrong. He made a slick move and put the Wings on the board. After that play, they had the momentum and managed to tie the game. It couldn’t have happened without Abby’s smooth hands.

What’s Next

The boys get a day off tomorrow before travelling to Toronto to faceoff against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The last time these two teams met was on April 1, 2017 and the Leafs won 5-4. The Wings will look to get off to a better start against Toronto this year. Game time is 7:30 PM and you can catch the game on FS-D and Sportsnet if you’re in Canada.

As always, look for Brock Seguin’s pre-game report on WingsNation.com Wednesday morning.