TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t throw a perfect gem in Friday night’s 3-1 conquest of the Detroit Red Wings, but they found ways to win their fourth game of the four-game home stand even when they didn’t have the crispness of the team that is now 7-1-1 over it’s first nine games.
Center Barclay Goodrow scored his first two goals of the season and Pat Maroon finally pushed his first past the pipes as Tampa Bay withstood a stagnant second period in tying the team record with it’s sixth consecutive home win to start the season.
The Lightning are 18-0-1 vs. the Red Wings since Feb. 3, 2016.
“We started okay – we still have a lot better hockey in us,” said Maroon. “We are playing better defensively and Vasy (Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy) has gotten us out of jams numerous times. We have to be smarter with the puck and predictable at each of our blue lines and tonight we got back to that.”
Maroon was the last of 20 Tampa Bay Lightning skaters to finally get on the scoresheet as he fired a slapper past the outstretched glove of Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss at 13:36 in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.
“It’s nice to get that one early in the game,” said Maroon. “Killer (Alex Killorn) made a great screen on my shot. I just tried to fire it home if I found a lane there. It’s nice to get on the boards again.”
The Lightning struggled throughout the second period as the puck was fluid from end to end of the ice. Neither Tampa Bay nor Detroit could assert a consistent forecheck and it resulted in what Maroon discussed as the worst period of hockey for the Lightning this season.
“It’s one thing if execution wasn’t quite there and it doesn’t take skill to get outworked,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. “I give the guys credit because as much of a stinker as the second period was, we gave up four shots and one big time chance. I don’t think we were threatened too much.”
Maroon gave credit to the struggling Red Wings for choking down Tampa Bay.
“They played really solid tonight and gave us their best effort,” said Maroon. “They clogged up the neutral zone really well and caused us to play our worst game of the season in the second period.”
Goodrow gave the Lightning the only goal they would need to send the Red Wings to an 0-6-2 record since their last win Jan. 19 over Columbus.
Jan Ruuta fed Goodrow behind the circles and he fired a wicked slap shot in the 5-hole as Greiss couldn’t react quick enough to knock it away.
This gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead at 17:29 as Brayden Point picked up the second assist and it marked the fourth game in a row in which he scored a point. He later scored on an empty netter at 19:27 to close out the 3-1 win.
Vasilevskiy was once again nearly flawless as he stopped 27 of 28 shots, including a shot at point blank range from Detroit center Dylan Larkin.
“You can sit there for a while like at times he had to do in the third period tonight and then he has to step up and make a big save and that’s why he is up for the Vezina almost every year,” said Cooper.
Detroit grabbed a 1-0 lead at 10:00 in the first when Filip Zadina’s high shot hit Vladislav Namestnikov for a redirection over Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at 10:00.
This was after the Lightning killed the 2-man advantage and they had barely gotten settled against what was a very aggressive Red Wings forecheck as Detroit tallied a 7-1 shots on goal advantage midway through the first period.