| The Detroit News
There was no question the Red Wings were much better Friday in Tampa.
Much more competitive, respectable and the way the Wings want to play on a nightly basis.
But, they still lost. This time, 3-1 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
Tampa forward Barclay Goodrow broke a 1-1 tie with a long shot from the top of the slot that beat goaltender Thomas Greiss through the legs at 17 minutes, 29 seconds of the second period.
Goodrow had just come off the bench and got a pass from defenseman Jan Rutta. Greiss had committed a split second too much to the opposite side, looking for the puck, and couldn’t square himself to stop Goodrow’s shot.
“I just lost that one,” said Greiss, who rebounded well after being pulled in Wednesday’s loss. “It wasn’t the prettiest goal. I have to find it. I couldn’t really see it.”
Goodrow then capped the scoring with his second goal of the game with an empty-netter with 27 seconds remaining.
The Wings (2-8-2) saw their winless streak reach eight games (0-6-2), while they continue a rugged six-game trip with games Sunday and Tuesday in Florida.
But looking poor in many categories in Wednesday’s one-sided loss, this was a close game until the end, with the Wings probably deserving a better fate.
“That’s more conducive to the type of hockey we have to play to be successful,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They leaned on us a bit in the third (period), but until then, we didn’t give them much.
“We defended well, we were on top of them and we hounded them. We had chances (offensively) and we have to find a way to convert more of those chances in the first half of the game. But that’s the way we have to play. We’ve been in those 2-1 games and we have to find a way to win them.
“We can’t stray from it.”
Vladislav Namestnikov scored the Wings’ goal.
The Wings were outshot 32-28 by Tampa, with Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopping 27 shots and frustrating the Wings yet again.
Vasilevskiy made a key stop midway in the third period, stopping Dylan Larkin’s one-timer from the dot, maintaining Tampa’s 2-1 lead.
“We controlled what we could control and showed up, we competed,” Larkin said. “It’s a heck of a hockey team over there and it was one-shot game. We were right there, and we worked like the way we should work every night.”
Tampa’s victory was its 16th consecutive victory over the Red Wings at Amalie Arena, and 18th win in the last 19 games against the Wings overall (the Wings’ victory was a shootout).
The Wings received a spark from forward Filip Zadina, who returned to the lineup after having been on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Zadina assisted on Namestnikov’s goal (his second this season), snapping a shot from the dot — as a Wings’ power play was expiring — which rolled up the arm of Tampa defenseman Luke Schenn and off Namestnikov, before getting past Vasilevskiy.
Zadina played 15:48, had three shots on net, and a plus-1 rating.
“Filip played real well,” Blashill said. “That’s the way he looked yesterday in practice. He looked like he was ready and he played real well.”
Tampa tied the game late in the first period, dimming the Wings’ momentum.
Wings forward Adam Erne sent an errant pass into the middle of the ice, the puck landing on the stick of Tampa forward Pat Maroon.
With Greiss screened, Maroon lifted a shot near the top of the circle that may have nicked a stick and went just wide of Greiss into the net, Maroon’s first goal.
Greiss, who was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots in Wednesday’s loss, was a major reason the Wings stayed even through Friday’s first period.
Greiss didn’t get much help defensively, but he did in this game, but Greiss also made several impressive early stops (29 saves).
The best sequence Greiss had was making a sprawling pad save on Anthony Cirelli, then getting back in position and stopping Cirelli who retrieved a loose puck near the post.
Greiss (0-7-2) has yet to win his first game with the Wings.
“That game (Wednesday) wasn’t pretty but it’s just part of the way and you let it go and have a good practice the next day and get ready,” Greiss said. “It’s no big secret.
“For sure it’s different systems (compared to his last team, the New York Islanders) and different ways to play. It takes a while to adjust, but it just takes some time.
“Nobody was really happy with the last game, or the game before. We played a real good game tonight and played them tight. We did a good job limiting their chances and we played hard.”