After a pair of embarrassing loses over the Easter weekend, the Red Wings really needed a bounce back game to get them back on track to close out the season strong.
With the news of Dylan Larkin out injured for the remainder of the season, and playing the Tampa Bay Lightning, the odds were not looking good. In what turned out to be an exciting game, the Wings pulled off an upset victory on the road against a tough opponent to help them bounce back from the weekend.
The first period did not start out well for the Wings. Tampa put them on their heels early with the strong play that they are know for. A Bertuzzi penalty gave the special teams some work early and they came up with a big penalty kill. Tampa isn’t a team that you want give the first goal up to early.
Thomas Greiss was in goal for the game and came up with some big saves throughout the first period to keep the game scoreless as they headed into the locker room for the first intermission. The Bolts were strong in the period and outshot the Wings 15-5. A strong start to the second period was needed by Detroit.
Tampa Bay got off to another strong start in the second and on a quick entry to the Red Wings zone found an open Ross Colton with a slick pass who had a wide open net and didn’t miss to open the scoring. Luckily, the Wings came right back and after a few shots on goal Oskar Sundqvist backhanded the puck in the net on a rebound off Andrei Vasilevskiy with DeKeyser and Seider getting the assists!
The Wings poured it on and a couple minutes later right after not cashing in on a power play opportunity, Jakub Vrana was able to thread the needle through traffic into the back of the net on a great shot from the left circle to make it 2-1 with Zadina and Walman getting the assists. Shortly after that goal, Lucas Raymond steals the puck from a Tampa player, walks right up to the goal and smokes Vasilevskiy five hole on a beautiful shot for the unassisted goal.
Unfortunately, not long after that a Detroit penalty put Tampa Bay on the power play and as often happens, Nikita Kucherov buried the puck almost immediately to bring them back within a goal. Greiss continued to make some big saves to keep the game at 3-2 going into the second intermission.
The third period did not get off to a good start for the Red Wings as Ross Colton scored his second goal of the night quickly to tie up the game. I immediately started having flashbacks to some of the games earlier this season when the Wings lost the game in the third period and started to feel deflated.
Then Jakub Vrana stole the puck at the blue line and was off all alone against Vasilevskiy when he scored one of those goals that makes you jump out of your seat at home! It was one of the best goals that I have seen all year and it gave the Wings the lead and helped them bounce back after the early Tampa goal. As the period continued the Red Wings had a couple of big chances to get one of those always nice insurance goals to pad the lead and reduce the stress, although ultimately were unable to score.
The game definitely got tense at the end as Tampa has made a habit of stealing games from the Wings right at the end like they have all year. Greiss remained solid in goal all the way to the end even while holding off 6 Tampa skaters. Bert almost scored an empty net goal at the end and the Red Wings brought home the win.
Notes on the Game
Jakub Vrana was the star of the game with two great goals including the game winner. I wrote an article talking about the impact Vrana could have made this season if he was healthy that you can read here and this is exactly what I was talking about!
The best part of the game for me was how the team stepped up in the absence of their captain. When I heard that Larkin was going to be out, I thought this game was a foregone conclusion after recent games. However, they came up big with the bounce back victory that they badly needed!
Next up for the Wings is another tough road game against Panthers as their tour of the sunshine state continues. Let’s hope that they can build off this victory and get some redemption after the last game they played against them. Let’s go Red Wings!
Detroit Three Stars of the Game
Stats from NHL.com
Vrana: 2 goals, 3 SOG, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 14:17 TOI
Greiss: 38/41, .927 SV%
Raymond: 1 goal, 2 SOG, 3 takeaways, 16:22 TOI