It looked as if the game between the Lightning and Red Wings would begin to be lopsided at one point, but the Lightning pressed until the end, eventually losing 4-2 in the team's lone visit to Joe Louis Arena this season.
Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves and without him, the Lightning would not have been able to stay in this game.
The Red Wings grabbed an early lead, with a goal from Pavel Datsyuk at 4:58 of the first period. Datsyuk was initially stopped by Roloson, but got another rebound to make it a 1-0 game.
Trailing, the Lightning still played aggressive in the neutral zone and forced some turnovers that eventually created some odd man rushes. That was only in the first half of the first period though. The second half of it, was a different story for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay seemed too concerned with getting that highlight reel play and the Red Wings weren't fooled for too long. Detroit began to forecheck and generate more shots on Roloson, who was the only reason the Lightning stayed in this game. Without him between the pipes, Tampa Bay could have easily faced a three, four, or even five-goal deficit in the first period.
The tides changed in the second period though when Lightning coach Guy Boucher switched up the lines and had Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos playing on the top-line. This sparked the Lightning, who cut the deficit to only a goal when St. Louis fired home his first power play goal of the season behind Jimmy Howard at 9:35. Marc-Andre Bergeron started the scoring play though, when he kept the puck in the zone, allowing Teddy Purcell to set up St. Louis.
Tampa Bay's defense played more efficiently and with more urgency, blocking more shots and tying up more Red Wings players at the neutral zone in the second period. Both teams played a more defensive period and when Boucher double-shifted his top line, Matt Gilroy had a beauty of a pass to set to up Stamkos, who made it a 2-2 game with only 14 seconds left in the second period.
In the third period, Tomas Holmstrom broke the tie at 4:22 of the third period, when he batted in a puck off the shaft of his stick for a power play goal from Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. The tic-tac-toe play was one for the highlight reels. The Red Wings extended the lead by two when Darren Helm scored at 13:14 of the third period.
The Lightning stayed in this one until the end, forcing Howard to make some mind boggling saves until the buzzer sounded. Tampa Bay had some excellent opportunities in the third period, even when they were shorthanded for four minutes, after Vincent Lecavalier high sticked Todd Bertuzzi. Gilroy was robbed by the Red wings goaltender and Stamkos, who already had a goal in the game, was stopped multiple times from letting the Lightning creep back into the game.
The Lightning turned play around in the second period, showing a good sense of urgency to get back into the game. Guy Boucher changed up lines a little bit and when Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos began playing together on the top line, is when the surge began for Tampa Bay.
When the Lightning got on the power play, Marc-Andre Bergeron made an impressive play when he kept the puck in the zone, allowing St. Louis to snap home a one-timer behind Jimmy Howard. St. Louis’s goal was originally set up by a textbook pass from Teddy Purcell. The goal is St. Louis’s first power play goal of the season.
Both the Red Wings and the Lightning focused more on defense in the second period, with Tampa Bay edging Detroit in shots by 6-5. The Lightning’s play in the second period didn’t mimic its play in the first period, as the team tied up Detroit players in the neutral zone and got more blocked shots. Lightning defensemen Eric Brewer has four blocked shots of his own. Tampa Bay’s stretch passes were also coming from the tops of the circles instead of from behind the net, like what happened in the first period.
In the latter stages of the second period, Boucher decided to double-shift his top line and it ended up being a good decision. Matt Gilroy distracted the Red Wings defense, setting up Stamkos, who scored with 14 seconds remaining in the second period, tying the game up 2-2.
Tampa Bay Lightning might be behind by two goals, but they played a pretty decent first period overall...in the beginning.
For the first five minutes, Tampa Bay’s defense played smart, with some blocked shots and aggressive play in the neutral zone.
At 4:58 of the first period, Pavel Datsyuk scored the game’s first goal after the Lightning turned it over in their own zone, even after winning the prior face-off. Datsyuk was initially stopped by Dwayne Roloson, but Datysuk got his own rebound, making it a 1-0 game.
Before and after Datsyuk’s goal, both team’s defenses were forcing turnovers, especially Tampa Bay. Lightning defense was rather aggressive on the Detroit defensemen in first period, but that changed.
In the last half of the first period, the Detroit Red Wings began shooting at just about anything, eventually outshooting the Lightning 17-8 when the first period’s time expired.
Detroit then scored another goal, after Valtteri Filpula’s quick legs took advantage of Pavel Kubina, allowing Filpula to pass it to Jonathan Ericsson, who scored from the slot. Roloson probably never saw the shot; Brett Clark was standing right in front of him. The bad change from Tampa Bay prior to the goal was another reason Detroit now has a 2-0 lead.
No goaltender is envying Roloson right now. He is keeping the Lightning in this one and it’s only the first period. Without him, this game could easily be out of hand for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steve Downie is set to return to the ice Wednesday evening after missing three games with an upper-body injury. The team announced via its Twitter account that doctors have cleared the 24-year-old Downie to play against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, but also that coach Guy Boucher has yet to decide which forward Downie will replace.
Without Downie, the Lightning went 2-1, improving their record to 11-10-2. Now in his fifth season, the Ontario native has two goals and three assists in 20 games, along with a plus-minus ratio of minus-12. He's served 49 minutes in penalties.
The Red Wings host the Lightning at 7:30 PM Wednesday. Versus has the national telecast in the United States, while TSN2 will carry the game in Canada.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will visit the Detroit Red Wings for the first and only meeting between the two teams this season. The matchup also marks the first time Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman returns to Hockeytown after taking the job.