Detroit Red Wings blow third-period lead in front of 750 fans at Little Caesars Arena

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James | Detroit Free Press

The building had more buzz to it, too much horn, and the first visit of the season from the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Detroit Red Wings delivered a solid performance Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning, twice building a lead but falling in overtime, 4-3.

The point improved the Wings to 7-16-4.

Nearly two months after the Wings began the season with 250 fans in the building, loosened pandemic restrictions allowed for 750. The synthetic noise was still present, but the increase in fans made for an improved atmosphere. The most noise in the first period came from the horn, which malfunctioned and sounded every few minutes in the first minute. After an early stoppage, officials let the teams know to play through the disruption.

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Dylan Larkin returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury. The Wings had a good start, taking a lead on a power play goal from Adam Erne. But Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson scored 35 seconds apart to give the Lightning a lead coming out of the first period.

Larkin put the Wings back in the lead in the second period, a couple minutes after Patrik Nemeth scored. Erik Cernak scored on Thomas Greiss midway through the third period. Blake Colman scored midway through overtime, just after Larkin had been denied on a nice chance.

The teams meet again Thursday.

Power play(s) click

Erne converted less than a minute into a four-minute penalty on Steven Stamkos for high-sticking Christian Djoos. Filip Zadina fed the puck to Erne down by the net; Erne found the puck on his forehand and tapped a shot behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Wings have scored a power play goal in five straight games after an 14-game, 0-for-40 PP drought. The lead lasted half the period, until Point completed a tic-tac-toe play to convert on the Bolts’ second power play. (The Wings passed on Point in the 2014 draft. They chose Dominic Turgeon at 63rd; the Lightning grabbed Point at 79th. Turgeon has made nine appearances for the Wings, and none since 2018-19.)

Wings slick

Vladislav Namestnikov carried the puck into Tampa’s zone and fed Sam Gagner, who wired a shot to Nemeth. With Zadina screening Vasilevskiy, Nemeth sniped a shot to pick up his second goal of the season. Larkin scored his fifth of the season two minutes later, firing a shot from the right circle that hit the crossbar on its way into the net. Filip Hronek earned his second assist of the game on the play. Anthony Mantha got fans on their feet when he dropped the gloves against Cernak — though it wasn’t much of a fight.

Svechnikov sits

With Larkin back in the lineup, someone had to come out. That ended up being Evgeny Svechnikov, despite four points (two goals, two assists) in four appearances. It wasn’t a matter of veterans getting the benefit, as neither Valtteri Filppula nor Frans Nielsen played. The guy that arguably could have gotten the short straw over Svechnikov was Mathias Brome. He is a better skater than Svechnikov, but in 24 games, Brome has one goal.

Contact Helene St. James at 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 AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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