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WINGS POST-GAME: DEATH BY GOURDE

Looking to head into their bye week with a five game winning streak, the Red Wings played host to the first place Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night. Having won their last five home games, the momentum was in their favor as the atmosphere inside Little Caesar’s Arena has been taken up a notch in 2018. The Lightning did their part to silence that crowd, as they sunk the Wings 5-2.

THE RUNDOWN

The Lightning struck first at the 8:56 mark of the first period. It was, it pains me to say, Dan Girardi who redirected a slap-pass into the net past Petr Mrazek. It was actually kind of a nice goal, which is not what you expect from Girardi.

Five minutes later, Tyler Johnson added to the tally with his thirteenth of the season.

I always forget that these two teams have are in the midst of a heated rivalry until they play each other. Towards the end of the first period, that rivalry showed itself as Dylan Larkin dropped the gloves with Brayden Point. Larkin got quite a few shots in, but at the end of the fight, he was left bleeding from his mouth. Then, a few minutes later, Tomas Tatar sparred with Yanni Gourde.

Detroit started the second period with a 5-on-3, but failed to convert. Shortly after Tampa returned to even strength, though, Gustav Nyquist brought the Wings within one with a beautiful snipe over the shoulder of Louis Domingue.

After that, Detroit got another 5-on-3 midway through the second and once again failed to convert! In the final minute of the period, Yanni Gourde added another for Tampa, stretching the lead to two and completing his first career Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Detroit challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the call stood.

Only three minutes into the third period, Justin Abdelkader brought Detroit back within one when he slapped a loose puck into the net.

Detroit managed to keep it competitive until the thirteen minute mark and that’s when it all fell apart. Nikita Kucherov, also known as The Wing Killer, banged home his 27th of the season from Steven Stamkos (who else?). Finally, Gourde scored another to bury the Wings for good.

THE STATS

This was a tough loss for Detroit because they dominated this game. They out-shot and out-attempted the Lightning at 5v5, but were continuously shut down by Louis Domingue. And here we all thought they caught a break by not facing Vasilevskiy.

This was an especially tough loss for Petr Mrazek, who finally got a start. He made 19 saves on 24 shots for a save percentage of .792. Not a great showing by a goalie who’s been patiently waiting for his opportunity. No doubt the Wings coaching staff is hoping for Howard to be ready next Saturday.

MOTOR CITY MVP

Tonight’s Motor City MVP is Yanni Gourde who had a fight, an assist, and two goals! Err – wait. Dammit. I wish that was a Red Wing.

Tonight’s real MVP is Gustav Nyquist who continues to be red hot with his stick. He’s already surpassed his goal total from last year and has been a key in the Red Wings strong play as of late. The goose is most definitely loose right now.

NEXT UP

The Red Wings are officially in their bye week! If you’re looking for them this week, you’ll probably find them on the beach of some resort, passed out from all the happy hour margaritas.

Their next game is Saturday, January 13 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1:00 P.M. ET. You’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Sportsnet if you’re watching in Canada. As always, Brock Seguin will have the pre-game report on WingsNation.com before puck drop.