Ted Kulfan | The Detroit News
Detroit — Ultimately this game was a Red Wings victory, but what looked like an easy one suddenly wasn’t
The Wings defeated Tampa 6-4 Thursday, ending a stretch where the Lightning had earned points in 20 consecutive games against the Wings.
Add the fact the Wings earned a point in Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Lightning, and the Wings had the better of the two-game series, earning three of a possible four points against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
So, there’s that in what’s been another long, dreary Wings season.
But this one became a little nerve-wracking.
Leading 5-2, the Wings allowed two Brayden Point goals, the second at 17:05 of the third period, making it a one-goal game out of nowhere
But the Wings were able to hold on, with an empty-net goal by Vladislav Namestnikov with 19.6 seconds left clinching the win.
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Troy Stecher, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening and Robby Fabbri scored Wings goals, as the Wings scored six times on 23 shots against backup Tampa goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier shook off Tampa getting goals from Mikhael Sergachev and Steven Stamkos (power play) in the first 13:55 to earn the victory, making 40 saves.
The Wings broke it open with three consecutive goals after Stamkos tied the game with a power-play goal.
Mantha, mired in a season-long slump, scored his seventh goal to send the Wings ahead 3-2.
Mantha was chasing the puck down with Tampa defenseman Jan Rutta, when both fell and barrelled into McElhinney.
Video confirmed it was Ruuta who actually had the most contact leveling McElhinney, with Mantha having his stick near McElhinney, but not making much contact.
The Wings took control in the opening minutes of the second period.
Glendening made it a two-goal game just 37 seconds into the period, after a Tampa turnover, flipping a shot from near the goal line that deflected off McElhinney’s shoulder and off the back crossbar, Glendening’s third goal.
The goal appeared to sap McElhinney’s already dwindling confidence, and Fabbri took advantage at the 4:50 mark.
Fabbri carried the puck through the zone and snapped shot high over McElhinney, Fabbri’s fifth goal.
The Wings played with danger the remainder of the period, taking penalties and getting Tampa’s dangerous power play on the ice.
But the Wings killed four consecutive Lightning power plays, and Bernier was sharp, maintaining the lead.
The Wings (8-16-4) continue on this six-game homestand with a game Sunday against Carolina (5 p.m/FSD/97.1).