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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Lightning 7, Red Wings 6 (OT): Bertuzzi scores four goals in a heartbreaking loss

The Detroit Red Wings are 0-0-1 to start the 2021–22 season after falling 7-6 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Thursday’s season-opening game at Little Caesars Arena.

Tyler Bertuzzi led the way for Detroit with four goals, becoming the first Red Wing to score four times since Jakub Vrána helped Detroit beat the Dallas Stars 7-3 on Apr. 22, 2021.

Red Wings rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond both made their NHL debuts in the game; Seider picked up two helpers while Raymond notched a single assist.

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Vladislav Namestnikov and Dylan Larkin also scored for Detroit. Larkin’s goal coming shortly after he was formally introduced as team captain to the assembled faithful at Little Caesars Arena in a pre-game ceremony that also involved several of the team’s former leaders, including Nicklas Lidström and Henrik Zetterberg.

Ondrej Palat and Steven Stamkos both scored twice for Tampa, which came back to win in the extra period after trailing 6-3 with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time.

The rundown

Larkin opened the scoring for Detroit exactly 14 minutes into the first period, slamming home the rebound of a Robby Fabbri shot that trickled through the gear of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Despite being outshot 15-8 in the first period, the Red Wings exited with a 1-0 lead. That trend continued into the second period, as the Wings scored three goals (all by Bertuzzi) and remained ahead by a goal after 40 minutes despite being outshot 15-12 in the middle 20.

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The Bolts put up a fight, though. Palat and Stamkos collectively scored three goals in the middle frame, with the latter putting up consecutive markers in the final five minutes to help Tampa Bay claw back two-thirds of the way from being down 4-1.

Then, just 4:35 into the third period, this happened:

Seider picked up his second assist of the night with the secondary helper on the goal. Namestnikov extended the Wings’ lead to 6-3 just 2:35 after Bertuzzi’s fourth tally.

Tampa Bay kicked off the comeback with just over six minutes remaining in regulation. First, Ross Colton made it a 6-4 game at the 13:43 mark; subsequent goals by Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn helped push the game to overtime.

Detroit barely touched the puck in the extra frame. With 135 seconds remaining in overtime, Palat deflected a pass from Victor Hedman past Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to seal a 7-6 victory for Tampa Bay.

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The Lightning outshot Detroit by a 48-26 count in the game.

Why the Wings lost

Did you see the part where they gave up 48 shots? The Lightning peppered the Wings with chances and, eventually, Nedeljkovic couldn’t keep up.

Detroit really struggled to close out periods on Thursday, nearly blowing a 4-1 lead at the end of the second period and ultimately giving up four unanswered goals in the final half of the third period and in overtime.

Wing of the game

How can it not be Tyler Bertuzzi? He scored four goals and very nearly had a fifth on a breakaway late in the third period.

Bertuzzi certainly didn’t look like a player who hasn’t played a game in nine months. He’ll be expected to play a big role for the Red Wings this season, although he won’t be able to help during their road games in Canadian cities due to his unvaccinated status.

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The personnel

The Wings went with these lines on Thursday:

Bertuzzi – Larkin – Raymond
Fabbri – Suter – Zadina
Erne – Rasmussen – Namestnikov
Smith – Stephens – Gagner

DeKeyser – Hronek
Leddy – Seider
Staal – Lindstrom

Alex Nedeljkovic played the entire game for the Red Wings, with Thomas Greiss backing him up on the bench.

Up next

The Red Wings will return to action on Oct. 16 to welcome the Vancouver Canucks into Little Caesars Arena. Puck-drop will go just after 7:00 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Detroit and, in Canada, Sportsnet Pacific.

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