DETROIT – The third time wasn’t the charm for the Red Wings on Saturday night.
Detroit dropped its third straight overtime game as time ran out when Tampa Bay scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute left in overtime. The Red Wings also fell to the Stars and Rangers in overtime within the last two weeks, allowing goals with 19 and 13 seconds left in the extra period, respectively.
“We’ve been making too many turnovers, creating turnovers all over the ice whether it’s in the neutral zone or whatnot,” Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “They had too many chances and eventually, they’re a good team and they have players who are actually going to score on you. We turned the puck over too many times tonight and they were able to capitalize on that.”
The loss extended Detroit’s home winless streak to five games. The last time the Red Wings experienced a five-game slide at Joe Louis was during the 1996-97 season, when they lost to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1-0) in overtime; tied St. Louis (1-1) and Toronto (2-2); and were defeated by Ottawa (3-2) and St. Louis (3-1).
Before tonight’s loss, the Red Wings were 13-1-1 all-time against the Lightning and had gone undefeated in 11 straight at home. Tampa Bay’s first and only victory in Detroit came in a 4-2 win at Joe Louis on Jan. 12, 1994.
The Red Wings picked up one point in their first of five matchups against Tampa Bay this season, earning their 11th point in the past 14 games.
“Obviously we want two points at home,” said forward Henrik Zetterberg. “Somehow we can’t find a way to really get it right now. We fought hard. It wasn’t perfect. We found a way to tie it up. Once again we fell short.”
Zetterberg put the Red Wings on the scoreboard first early in the opening period, sneaking a slap shot past Ben Bishop for his ninth goal of the season. Ryan Malone tied the game midway through the first period on a wrist shot from Matthew Carle and Nate Thompson. The forward missed his initial shot on a wraparound move, but scooped up the rebound and slipped it past Jimmy Howard.
The Red Wings enjoyed a 5-on-3 advantage for 36 seconds in the second period, but were unable to convert on the power play, instead giving up a goal to Steven Stamkos as the penalty minutes expired. But Zetterberg struck again with just over four minutes left, recording his ninth point in the past five games with the game-tying goal.
Tampa Bay put the game away when Teddy Purcell scored with 69 seconds left in the overtime period, handing Detroit its second straight overtime loss.
“I thought here today we were fine and then in the third period they suddenly got chances,” coach Mike Babcock said. “There was nothing going on, neither team could get a shot on goal and then bang, suddenly we’re pressing. But I thought even when it was tied 2-2 – we came back to tie it, why would we be giving up opportunities? Makes no sense to me.
“We have to be way more efficient on the back. We got to get way more out of more guys. I think we’re a better team than we played today. I got to give them credit, they played fast, they were good, their D was good, way more efficient than our D. Therefore they had more speed throughout their lineup.”
It was a homecoming of sorts for the Tampa Bay Lightning as former captain Steve Yzerman and former forward Valtteri Filppula returned to the Joe Louis for the conference matchup that brought back fond memories for both teams.
“We sat next to each other for many years here,” Henrik Zetterberg said of Filppula Saturday morning. “It was tough to see him leave and it’s going to be strange to see him in a different uniform and play against him tonight but it’s part of the game. Been through it before and probably go through it again.”
With the addition of the Red Wings to the eastern conference, Tampa Bay’s general manager will be seeing much more of his former team.
“I watched some of their games, they’re incredibly well-respected around the league,” Yzerman said of the Red Wings. “Pav and Hank are at the top of their game, Jimmy is becoming one of their elite goaltenders, they’re in every game. They’ve battled some injuries, they still have yet to really get their full lineup.
“Everybody wants to say they lost this player, they lost that player, but they just keep coming back. They’re extremely well-coached and well-run.”
The Red Wings continue their homestand when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday and the Washington Capitals next Friday.
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