There was an expectation.
That’s how I felt coming into this game. There was an expectation that the Red Wings wouldn’t win, but they would make it a tough task for the Tampa Bay Lightning. What we all saw was probably completely unexpected, but a bit of relief. Seriously, It sucks getting your ass whooped by a team all the time. Thursday night’s game at Little Caesars’ arena was a strong offensive burst, backed up by one hell of a performance from Jonathan Bernier.
The first period was an absolute blur. Sure, it’s safe to bet the over when these teams play each other, but even this 20 minutes in particular were hard to keep up with. The most impressive part of it all is that the Red Wings hit the “Instant 3-Play” in the 1st damn period. Troy Stecher opened the scoring in his 1st game back, and then a back-and-forth of offense broke out. Hell, even Dylan Larkin got in on goal-scoring flurry, which is great news for all of us — his presence on the ice has been sorely missed. But honestly, my favorite goal of the period came from Anthony Mantha, which was the 5th goal of the damn period. It went to review after a Tampa challenge, but ultimately leaned in the Red Wings way:
The confusing flurry of offense from the Red Wings rolled over into the 2nd period; Luke Glendening, and then not long after that, Robby Fabbri decided to get in on the fun. As I tried processing what the hell was actually unfolding in front of me, Jonathan Bernier pulled off two spectacular game-saving saves:
It was all thanks to Jonathan Bernier that the Red Wings pulled out of a 5-on-3 situation, and ultimately a three-goal lead headed into the 3rd period. I should mention that Adam Erne took a brutal punch from Barclay Goodrow. He ended up being ok, but his head nearly smacked the ice if Goodrow didn’t keep hold of him.
Jonathan Bernier continued his excellent performance through the final minutes of the game, despite a strong pushback from the Lightning. I think, that if you listened carefully enough, you could hear the collective sigh from Red Wings fans.. Kinda felt like we knew what was next. Even with some late-game drama, Detroit sealed the win thanks to Anthony Mantha and Vladislav Namestnikov:
Hey.. You scored 6 goals on the defending champs. You also had some great performances from players who will very likely be available for trade in the closing days of the trading deadline… You can look at it however you want. It was a good night for Red Wings fans.