While a Beautiful winter Sunset in Thunder Bay takes place outside, The Detroit Red wings take on the Rolling Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have not lost on home ice this season and look to continue that streak against the struggling Detroit team. Andrei Vasilevskiy continues his case as an early Vezina trophy candidate in his 8th start this season. Detroit is dead last after a strong opening night, winning just two games over their first ten of the 2021 season. The Bolts will need to score often which shouldn’t be too hard against a team that’s given up the 5th most goals and the 2nd most outside of the Canadian division. Tampa will look to put in a full 60 minutes, something the team has been working on after blowing leads in the later stages of games. These two teams haven’t seen each other since March 8th 2020 at Little Ceasers Arena in Detroit just 3 days before the Covid-19 shutdown of 2020. Needless to say, these teams are fired up and ready to rumble.
It did not take long for the scoring to start. Victor Hedman kicked off the scoring with a marvelous goal. The Swedish Defenseman made a beautiful individual effort, walked through the Detroit Defense, and beat Thomas Greiss blocker side. His 3rd goal of the season scored in the first 94 seconds of the game. Hedman is having a remarkable start to this season continuing the strong play that won him the Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP last summer. Anthony Cirelli continued the Bolts scoring finishing a Tic tac Goal that started with Hedman flying into the offensive zone passing it to Luke Schenn who makes his return to the Lineup, who fed Cirelli who blew a wrist shot by Thomas Greiss. The nightmare only got worse for Detroit as Ryan McDonagh beat greiss with a laser on the short side in the same spot as Hedman picked when he tallied the first goal of the game. Don’t blink it’s 3-0 and we are only five minutes into this contest. Tampa scores 3 goals on just 6 shots on net. Detroit showing early why they sit in the basement of the standings. The Lightning chased Thomas Greiss out of the net, Calvin Pickard relieved him with a long way to go. Valtteti Filppula was denied on a breakaway chance By Vasilevskiy. The Red Wings played significantly better the rest of the period after a disastrous start. Finally the period came to end, Tampa taking a commanding 3-0 lead into the first intermission
The Lightning started the 2nd Period with a a full powerplay off a penalty at the very end of the 1st period to Detroit. The man advantage was rather quiet and uninspired. Detroit found some fight in them. But the ultimate momentum killer Brayden Point scored at the 12:16 mark, shoving the dagger further into the Red Wings. Point’s 4th goal of the season is tied for team lead with Stamkos and Palat who both assisted on the goal. Anthony Mantha capitalized on a pass from former Stanley Cup winning Defenseman Christian Djoos and made it 4-1 for Detroit scoring on the breakaway on a messy shot. Detroit kept the pressure up. But was ultimately futile as Mikhael Sergachev put a wrister on goal that was tipped in by Alex Killorn. The deflection bordered on a high sticking tip. After a review the goal was confirmed it’s now 5-1 Tampa. Sergachev drew a penalty just seconds later. Tampa’s powerplay stayed quiet being chased around by an aggressive penalty kill by Detroit. The 2nd period came to a close with Tampa throttling the Red Wings 5-1 going into the final 20 minutes.
A quiet 3rd period was highlighted by a chance from Patrick Nemeth that went off Vasilevskiy and the cross bar. Nemeth unable to capitalize getting a breakaway after being sprung from his own end. Blake Coleman really stood out with his two way play. Showing how deep this team still is. Despite not scoring the 3rd period might have been the most complete frame they played all night. The horn sounded and Tampa beat Detroit by a score of 5-1. The Lightning have scored 4+ goals in all of their wins this season.
No matter how hard the Red Wings fought they were Overwhelmed by a fast skilled Tampa team that simply put is the better team. Detroit simply could not keep up with the speed skill and high octane offense that picked apart two different goalies over 60 minutes. Tampa looked sluggish on the powerplay going 0-4 but against an opponent like Detroit that doesn’t stand out as much as it would in a matchup with Dallas. Tampa can’t rely on skill and weak opponents. They continue to roll with the punches of this unusual season. The Bolts still have not lossed on home ice since February 27th 2020 to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bolts host Detroit again on Friday in the 2nd game of the mini series. They will head to music city on Monday to take on the Predators.