Red Wings finally solve Lightning goalie Vasilevskiy, beat Cup champions, 4-3

Detroit News

The Red Wings finally solved Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Wings used a three-goal barrage in the second period and Jakub Vrana scored his second goal Tuesday in the third period, snapping a tie and giving the Wings a 4-3 victory over the Lightning.

The defeat the was the first in Vasilevsky’s career in the regular season against the Red Wings in 14 decisions (13-1-0).

It was only the Wings’ second victory in their last 20 games in Tampa.

Vrana stripped Tampa defenseman Mikhail Sergachev of the puck near the blue line and skated alone on Vasilevsky, snapping a shot for Vrana’s 12th goal and second of the game at 5 minutes 9 seconds, snapping a 3-3 tie.

The goal was also Vrana’s 20th in 32 games as Red Wing since being acquired at last season’s trade deadline.

Oskar Sundqvist, Vrana and Lucas Raymond scored goals in a span of 3:57  in the second period, and goaltender Thomas Greiss made 37 saves in outplaying Vasilevskiy, and igniting the Wings’ victory.

It was the first victory in four tries for the Wings this season against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.

The Wings played without Dylan Larkin (core muscle surgery), whose season ended Monday, and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, who was ill.

Still, the Wings (30-37-10) rebounded from two bad losses over the weekend, and not having Larkin, the team captain, to surprise Tampa.

“We’re a bit undermanned with some injury issues but that gives other guys opportunity,” said coach Jeff Blashill after Tuesday’s morning skate. “How good are you going to be as a player and how can we, as a group, show that we’re better?”

Ross Colton had two goals and Nikita Kucherov (power play) added a goal, and Steven Stamkos assisted on all three goals for the Lightning (46-22-8).

Colton scored his second of the game (19th of season) at 43 seconds of the third period, tying the game 3-3.

Stamkos had the puck in the corner and found Colton all alone in the slot. Colton’s point blank shot beat Greiss, deflating some of the momentum the Wings had built in the middle period.

But Vrana answered with his breakaway goal, the second time the Wings answered after a key Tampa goal.

The first period was hardly a confidence builder for the Wings, who were out-shot 15-5 and basically played the entire 20 minutes defending in their zone.

If not for Greiss, who made several key stops, the evening could have gotten away quickly.

But the Wings persevered, and rallied, even after Tampa struck first in the second period.

Colton scored his 18th goal, giving Tampa a 1-0 lead.

Stamkos cut through the Wings’ defense and drove to the net, but somehow saw a trailing Colton, who had a largely open net to beat Greiss at 3:58.

But the Wings quickly answered, beginning their surge.

Just 22 seconds after Colton’s goal, Sundqvist tied it 1-1 with his seventh goal.

The Sundqvist, Michael Rasmussen and Adam Erne line stormed the Lightning, and Sundqvist, setting up shop in front of Vasilevskiy, put back a rebound of Danny DeKeyser’s point shot at 4:20.

Moments after a Red Wings’ power play expired, Vrana extended the lead to 2-1.

FIlip Zadina found Vrana near the hashmarks, and Vrana snapped a shot through a maze of bodies in front of Vasilevsky, finding a hole to the right of the goaltender for his 11th goal.

Raymond capped the surge, with his 23rd goal, giving the Wings a 3-1 lead.

Raymond beat Sergachev to a puck, got on the rush, and snuck a shot through Vasilevskiy’s pads at 8:17, giving the Wings a 3-1 lead.

Kucherov, though, got Tampa back in the game with his 19th goal, on the power play, making it 3-2 at 9:47, and ending the Wings’ blitz.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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