The Red Wings dropped their fourth straight game to Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon, losing 2-1 in overtime to the two-time defending champs after being tied/leading for about 58 minutes of playing time.
The Wings had a strong first period in this matinee contest, putting seven shots on in the first 20 in comparison to the Bolts’ five, out-chancing Tampa as well. The best scoring opportunity for either team was a point-blank wrist shot from Lucas Raymond, stopped by Lightning goalie Brian Elliott. The two teams were still scoreless after the first horn.
The second period was more of the same, featuring strong play from both teams. Tampa started to put a little more pressure on Alex Nedeljkovic in the second, firing 11 shots at the Detroit netminder. Alex stood tall, stopping all 11. Unfortunately for him, the 36 year-old Brian Elliott was just as sharp, stopping all six Red Wings chances in the second frame. After forty, the game was still knotted at zero.
The dueling netminders continued their stellar play into the third, neither one giving an inch — until about nine minutes in. After an incredible pass from Adam Erne to start the rush, Pius Suter and the newly acquired Oskar Sundqvist raced toward Elliott, vying for the first tally of the day. As they broke in over the blueline, Suter passed the puck over to Sundqvist who fired what looked like an innocuous shot toward the Lightning goaltender. Somehow the puck squeaked through, finding its way to the back of the net and giving the Wings a 1-0 lead with 11 to play.
It looked like the Red Wings might be able to make the Sundqvist goal the winner, but unfortunately, it was not to be. After some sustained Lightning pressure in the final 10 minutes, Steven Stamkos was finally able to put one past Nedeljkovic from a tough angle on the powerplay, knotting the game 1-1. It would stay that way through the end of regulation.
Just a mere 51 seconds into the OT period, Tyler Bertuzzi took a tripping penalty on Nikita Kucherov. The Red Wings killed off over half of the powerplay, looking like they might be able to do the near-impossible — keep the vaunted Lightning powerplay off the board in overtime.
It was a “close, but no cigar” situation (and game) for Detroit. As the Bolts’ powerplay was waning down, a perfect rebound from a Nedeljkovic save found Brayden Point on the net front, and he put it past Alex to give Tampa Bay the 2-1 overtime victory.
1G 1/3 PK
27 SOG 17 hits
0/5 PP 17 blocks
2 G 5/5 PK
36 SOG 20 hits
2/3 PP 20 blocks
Detroit’s Player of the Game
Alex Nedeljkovic: 36 shots faced, 34 shots saved, .944 SV%