‘Fun, pretty hectic’ finale in Tampa Bay leaves Detroit Red Wings happy, confident

Detroit Free Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Four goals in five minutes is dizzying, but two of them added up to four and fun for the Detroit Red Wings.

“It’s not always nice when you have the lead and they get a couple, but we were ready to finish the game with a couple empty netters,” Ville Husso said after Tuesday’s 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. The ending put the Wings on a two-game winning streak, made all the more enjoyable coming against an opponent with as much skill as the Bolts.

“I feel like in this league, you can win against any team when you play at your own level,” Husso said. “That’s something we want to do night after night. It was a big win, for sure. That was fun.”

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Michael Rasmussen, who scored two minutes into the second period, described the final stretch as “pretty hectic. All that matters is that we got the win and Hus was great. Good effort there.”

Husso had made 16 saves when the second period ended. When the third ended, it was 44. When he wasn’t tracking pucks, he was eyeballing the game clock during stoppages.

“You always look and know what’s going on,” Husso said. “At that point, I wasn’t thinking shut out, just, get the win. They have a lot of high-end, skilled players, so they got two goals, and you have a chance to win the game.”

Jonatan Berggren had made it 2-0 six minutes into the third period, which led Lightning coach Jon Cooper to gamble and pull goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker just past the 14-minute mark. Steven Stamkos made good on the gamble, pulling the Bolts within one goal with 5:08 to go. Adam Erne cushioned that blow with an empty-net goal 90 seconds later. Brayden Point scored with 2:26 to play, making for a tense couple minutes until David Perron skated the puck all the way to Tampa’s net for another empty-net goal with 24.8 seconds remaining.

Pulling the goalie is a common maneuver for trailing teams, but that was a notably long stretch.

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“I was a little surprised,” Wings coach Derek Lalonde said of his former boss’ decision. “But they had such momentum going, and maybe it was because of the matchup.”

The Wings had Joe Veleno’s lineup with Berggren and Austin Czarnik on the ice when Vasilevskiy skated to the bench.

“I would do it all over again,” Lalonde said. “That line was good. And it just helps us when we roll all four lines, with the rhythm of our team.

“I just liked the way we played. We were on our heels in the third, it goes to show you what they can be like with urgency with that push in the third, but we put ourselves in that position with two really good periods. As tough as it was, the ice was tilted in the third, I still thought we managed it well enough. It was a good win for us.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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