Helene St. James | Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Red Wings hung on to celebrate a rare victory against one of the best teams in the NHL.
They weathered a late surge by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday at Little Caesars Arena to win, 6-4, against defending Stanley Cup champions. It’s the first time since Nov. 3, 2015 that the Wings beat the Lightning in regulation in the regular season.
Jonathan Bernier’s 40 saves included stopping a slap shot from Mikhail Sergachev during a two-man Tampa power play. Brayden Point scored two goals 1:14 apart in the third period, the second time with Tampa’s goalie on the bench. Vladislav Namestnikov secured the victory with an empty net goal with 20 seconds to play.
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Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek each contributed two assists, and Sam Gagner picked up his 300th career assist.
Troy Stecher got the scoring started midway through the first period. Dylan Larkin provided the second lead and Anthony Mantha scored a minute after Steven Stamkos converted on a power play. Luke Glendening scored from below the goal line in the opening minute of the second period and Robby Fabbri added to the fun four minutes later.
The Wings took five penalties in the second period, including one for fighting on Adam Erne after he was KO’ed by Barclay Goodrow. That one, at least, was offsetting, and Tampa’s fourth straight power play was cut short a minute in when Alex Killorn was called for slashing. Still, Bernier had to make 13 saves in the period.
The Wings (8-16-4) next play Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Stecher appeared for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Feb. 19, prompting the Wings to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards. He scored his first goal of the season at 8:31 of the first period, taking a feed from Gagner and firing a puck that hit the crossbar and sank in behind Curtis McElhinney. That was Gagner’s third assist in three straight games. Zadina also assisted to extend his point streak to three games.
It was Larkin’s second game since being sidelined multiple games by an upper-body injury. He provided a lead at 12:12 of the first period, about a minute after Sergachev had tied it. Hronek had the puck at the bottom of the right circle when he found Larkin in the slot, and Larkin buried the puck for his sixth goal of the season. Larkin went through a quiet stretch in February, with just three points in 12 games, but has looked better since having to rest for a bit with the injury.
Mantha assisted on Larkin’s goal, and scored at 14:56 of the first period. It was the first time in 27 games this season Mantha has tallied a multi-point game. He and Jan Rutta crashed into the crease on the play and the Lightning challenged goaltender interference, which officials determined didn’t happen. Mantha was denied on a breakaway midway through the the third period, and set up Namestnikov’s goal. Seeing Mantha so engaged is a much-welcomed sight for the Wings after a lethargic start to the season.
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.