| Detroit Free Press
For a team as battered as the Detroit Red Wings, any small step is a positive.
They came out with a solid start Friday at Amalie Arena as they took on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in three days, even scoring the first goal.
The defending Stanley Cup champions prevailed, 3-1, though, to extend the Wings’ winless streak to eight games and drop their record to 2-8-2.
The Wings regained a fifth player from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols with Filip Zadina’s availability after his two-week stay on the list. Zadina picked up his third assist of the season in the first period.
On the whole, the Wings played a more competitive game, and looked on the right track as they regained key players off pandemic protocol.
ZADINA’S RETURN: Forward ‘so happy’ to be back with ailing Red Wings
AROUND THE CENTRAL: Misery Index: Red Wings far from alone in ‘Heartbreak Hotel’
Zadina returned after battling COVID-19, playing in his first game since Jan. 19. He started on a line with Dylan Larkin and Givani Smith. Robby Fabbri, who returned from a two-week stay in COVID-19 protocol Wednesday, centered the second line with Anthony Mantha and Bobby Ryan. Vladislav Namestnikov centered the third line with Frans Nielsen and Sam Gagner, and Luke Glendening was with Adam Erne and Darren Helm on the fourth line. The lines altered to start the second period, when Smith was with Fabbri and Ryan, and Mantha was was Larkin and Zadina.
Much better start
Five minutes into Wednesday’s game, the Wings had surrendered three goals. They looked considerably better Friday, gaining the offensive zone fluidly and creating scoring chances against Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Wings took the lead when Zadina fired a shot through traffic that changed direction en route past Vasilevskiy midway through the first. Vladislav Namestnikov was credited for the goal, his second of the season. The Wings had to make do with a tie period when Adam Erne’s turnover led to Pat Maroon’s goal at 13:56.
Greiss in goal
Thomas Greiss started for the sixth straight time, as Jonathan Bernier remained sidelined by an upper body injury incurred Jan. 28 when Mantha crashed into Bernier. Greiss was chased five minutes into Wednesday’s game, but he had little offensive support from teammates. Greiss had a better outing Friday. The Lighting beat him for a second tine with just over 2:30 remaining in the second period when Barclay Goodrow one-timed a pass from Jan Rutta off a pass from Point, after Hedman intercepted a puck just inside his own blue line. Goodrow added an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.