Detroit Red Wings hang with defending champs, but fall at Tampa Bay, 2-1, in matinee

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings played well defensively but their inability to score cost them against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

They gave up two early goals, then made things interesting in the third period of their Saturday matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

The Wings wound up with a 2-1 loss that left them 12-22-4 on the season, but on the whole they played well.

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Thomas Greiss gave up goals to Ross Colton and Brayden Point in the first half of the first period. Adam Erne converted on a setup by Frans Nielsen in the third period. The Wings pulled Greiss with 1:38 to go for the extra attacker.

The teams meet again Sunday in Tampa.

Eight is great

Erne netted a careerhigh goal four minutes into the third period. Frans Nielsen won a battle for the puck behind the Tampa goal line, and got the puck out front. Erne took a couple whacks at the puck to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy. That was Erne’s second goal in two game and put him at a career best.

A pick and a miss

It’s easy to draft in hindsight, but Brayden Point is a steady reminder of the mistake the Wings made in 2014 when they chose Dominic Turgeon at 63rd, passing on Point who went at 79th to the Lightning. Point scored his 16th goal of the season at 7:26 of the first period; that extrapolates to 36 goals in an 82-game season, a mark Point already has hit twice.

Lineup notes

Evgeny Svechnikov cleared waivers and was added to the taxi squad. Veteran forward Valtteri Filppula replaced Svechnikov in the lineup, starting on a line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Frans Nielsen. The more intriguing combination had Michael Rasmussen with Anthony Mantha ad Givani Smith – that’s a big line, with Rasmussen checking in at 6–foot–6, 229 pounds, Mantha at 6–5, 234 and Smith at 6–2, 210.

Special teams report

Bobby Ryan and Sam Gagner weren’t available because of injuries, leaving the Wings short two power play regulars. That left them struggling when they got man advantages, but to the Wings’ credit they did a really good job killing penalties, denying the Lightning on three opportunities through the first two periods.

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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