Wings win in shootout to break 16-game skid against Lightning
The Red Wings did something on Sunday that they had not been able to accomplish in almost five years:
They beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Detroit came out on top 5-4 in shootout in a wild game at Little Caesars Arena. It was the first time the Wings had beaten the Lightning in a regular-season game since they won 2-1 on Nov. 3, 2015. Sunday’s victory also snapped a 16-game losing streak against GM Steve Yzerman’s former team.
“It’s good. When you go a long time not beating a team,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’ve done it with a couple different teams. We had that with Boston and Montreal a little bit. Obviously it has been a long time with these guys. This one in particular I get to hear about it all summer long, so it’s nice to beat them.”
Blashill and Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper are longtime good friends. Blashill’s last win over Cooper was so long ago that only a few Red Wings – Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Luke Glendening and Dylan Larkin – are still with the team.
The Wings have also won two straight after Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Robby Fabbri got the shootout winner Sunday, and Larkin also had a shootout goal. The recently reunited top line of Larkin (a goal and two assists) between Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha (a goal and three assists each) was dominant. And, once again, Jonathan Bernier, who made 33 saves, was outstanding. He was beaten by Mikhail Sergachev on the opening shootout attempt but then denied Bernier then denied Brayden Point and superstar Nikita Kucherov.
It appeared that the Red Wings might not need extra time to break the losing streak early in the third period after they had scored three goals in 4:39 to take a 4-2 lead.
Larkin put in Mantha’s rebound off the rush to tie the game 2-2 with 15 seconds left in the second period. Mantha scored on the power play 1:51 into the third to make it 3-2, and he then set up Bertuzzi’s goal on a two-on-one rush 4:24 into the third period.
But the Lightning, who beat Boston Saturday night and got to their hotel in Detroit at 3:40 a.m. Daylight Savings Time ahead of Sunday’s 5 p.m. start, dug in and tied it. Point got his second goal of the game 1:31 after Bertuzzi scored, and Patrick Maroon scored with 8:41 left.
“They’re an explosive team. They’re going to score goals,” Bertuzzi said. “But we stuck with it, went to the shootout and Fabbs (Fabbri) had a nice move and Bens (Bernier) stood on his head again.”
Bertuzzi scored his 20th goal and tied his career high in points with 47, which he set last season. Mantha appeared to be all the way back from his injury woes with four goals and six assists in his last nine games to give him 16 goals and 37 points in 42 games. Larkin is also on a hot streak with four goals and 13 points in his past nine games.
“They played very well,” Blashill said. “They get lots of opportunity so they need to play like a top line, and they did that. When we’ve had success here over the last couple of years, that line has been a big part of it. They need to be a big part of it. Two games in a row they’ve played pretty good.
“Now, I think there’s still growth there, but I think they’ve done a good job and I think they’re going to have to the rest of the way for us to be a good team.”
Fabbri ‘s breakaway goal with 9:49 left in the first period gave Detroit a 1-0 lead. But Tampa Bay took the lead in the second on Point’s first goal of the night (8:49 left, on the power play) and a goal by Carter Verhaeghe (5:03 left).
After a published report on Saturday cited a source that said all NHL dressing rooms would be closed due to the coronavirus situation, both the Red Wings’ and Lightning’s locker rooms were open as usual.