Detroit Free Press

Red Wings knock off red-hot Lightning in huge win for their playoff hopes

- Helene St. James

TAMPA, Fla. – The Detroit Red Wings delivered another solid team performanc­e as they try to fan their playoff hopes.

They scored first and retook the lead early in the third period Monday against one of the NHL’s hottest teams, holding their own against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena and emerging with a 4-2 victory on Monday that at least ended a tough road trip on a celebrator­y note.

But while the Wings (37-30-8) banked two points to reach four on the trip, they weren’t able to get inside the playoff picture. The New York Islanders beat the Philadelph­ia Flyers in overtime, giving the Flyers 83 points to the Wings’ 82 — and the Islanders, 79. The Washington Capitals, who were idle, are in the East’s second wild-card spot with 82 points and two games in hand on Detroit.

Patrick Kane scored in the opening minute of the second period, and Robby Fabbri made it 2-1 only for Steven Stamkos to flatten that lead while Andrew Copp was serving Detroit’s third penalty of the game. About midway through the third period, the Lightning were able to sustain roughly 4 minutes of zone time, leaving the Wings gassed and Lyon, at one point, without his stick.

David Perron scored the go-ahead goal with 2:40 to play and Lucas Raymond added an empty-net with 63 seconds to play.

Lyon finished with 34 saves.

It marked the end of a five-game road trip that began with the Wings being shutout by the Nashville Predators, gaining one point from the Washington Capitals, shutout by the Carolina Hurricanes, and again settling for one point from the Florida Panthers. The Wings don’t play again until Friday, when they begin a three-game homestand by hosting the New York Rangers.

Solid start

Considerin­g how hot the Bolts have been, winning eight of their previous nine outings, the Wings’ had a very good first period. They had to kill two penalties — the first on Austin Czarnik, the second on Raymond — but did an excellent job blocking shots and breaking up plays, limiting Tampa to four shots. They had a bit of luck, too, when a pass intended for Nick Paul hit his skate and squirted past the net. When the Wings had a man advantage near the end of the period, Andrei Vasilevski­y, whose biggest challenge up to that point was denying Raymond on a breakaway, made six saves as both units funneled pucks towards his crease.

Kane nears 20-goal mark

For the second straight game, the Wings scored the first goal. Against Florida two days earlier, it was Fabbri on a power play. On Monday, it was Kane, at even strength, picking up the puck after Vasilevski­y stopped Dylan Larkin’s

attempt and whipping a backhand into the net 37 seconds into the second period. Perron just missed scoring on the next shift, clanking the puck off the right goal post. Anthony Cirelli put the puck in Detroit’s net soon after but officials waived it off because of obvious goaltender interferen­ce. Kane’s goal was his 18th of the season and 42nd point, in his 43rd game.

Try, try and try again

The Wings built some momentum off Kane’s goal, keeping up an attack on Vasilevski­y. But things didn’t go so well when Victor Hedman went off for tripping J.T. Compher at 7:14. Cirelli was able to race up the right flank and fired a shot, pointing to the net as the puck disappeare­d under Lyon. Officials reviewed the play, and concluded that the referee’s call was good and the puck never crossed the goal line. That was at 8:18. Thwarted once again, Cirelli made good on his third attempt, scoring shorthande­d at 8:35 to make it 1-1. The Wings had a chance to retake the lead late in the period when Raymond faked Vasilevski­y over to one side only to swing the puck across to Compher, but that attempt ended in a pileup.

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