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Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Lightning 2

Strangely, the Lightning don’t play the 1-3-1 trap when they never have a lead in the game.

1st period: Detroit dominated play in the first, outshooting the Lightning 18 to 8. Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring with a nice tap-in of the rebound from Todd Bertuzzi’s shot. Johan Franzen set up the play. Jonathan Ericsson put Detroit up 2-0. Valtteri Filppula made an excellent pass from behind the goal line, and Ericsson was waiting in the high slot to snap the puck past goalie Dwayne Roloson.

2nd period: Tampa Bay came on strong in the second after successfully killing off a Detroit power play. When the Lightning got a power play of their own with Ericsson in the box for tripping, Marty St. Louis got them on the board by tapping a Teddy Purcell pass into the net. Steven Stamkos tied the game with scant seconds left to play in the period, scoring on a bad angle shot from near the side of the net while Vincent Lecavalier screened Jimmy Howard. Shots in the second were 6-5 in favor of Tampa Bay.

3rd period: This was a more evenly matched period in play, but Detroit’s goaltending carried away the honors. Tomas Holmstrom broke the tie by redirecting a Nicklas Lidstrom power play shot. (The classic Homer goal!) Darren Helm added an insurance goal by taking a nice pass from Jakub Kindl on his skate, kicking it up to his stick, and flipping it past Roloson. The Red Wings had a 4 minute power play late in the game with Lecavalier out for high sticking Bertuzzi, but the Lightning went all out with offensive pressure. This was when Howard had to be at his best, absolutely robbing Matt Gilroy on a breakaway with a quick glove save and staying solid through the mad scramble that followed. Shots in the third were 12-9 in Detroit’s favor.

Notes: Holmstrom’s power play goal was the 116th of his career, moving him past Brendan Shanahan for 5th all time in Red Wings power play scoring.

Next game: Detroit will travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres, 7:30 PM Friday.

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Game Preview: Lightning at Wings, 7:30 PM

By now you’ve probably heard or read every possible take on the “Steve Yzerman returns with his new team to face his old team” angle of tonight’s game, so I’ll leave that one alone. Except, since this is a Versus game, do you think that if Pierre Maguire interviews Yzerman and does his usual creepy stand-too-close thing, we’ll get to see Joey Kocur and Darren McCarty step out of the shadows to rough Pierre up? Protecting The Captain from ruffians and creepers is instinctive for them, after all!

So let’s look at what we’ll be seeing on the ice tonight. The Red Wings recalled Fabian Brunnstrom from Grand Rapids, and he’ll be in the lineup in place of Cory Emmerton. Brunnstrom, whose wife could go into labor any second (their first child’s due date was Friday), will be playing on the third line with Danny Cleary and Darren Helm (assuming Baby Bruno doesn’t make an appearance between now and puck drop). Jimmy Howard will be making his 16th consecutive start in net.

For the Lightning, Dwayne Roloson will be in net. The Tampa Bay netminder hasn’t played since being pulled after giving up six goals on 21 shots to Toronto last week. While the Lightning have gained plenty of negative attention this season for their extremely passive 1-3-1 trapping style of play (see here for an example on YouTube of how it went when the Philadelphia Flyers decided to make an example and not challenge the Lightning’s trap), their offense is still capable of generating dangerous chances. Steven Stamkos leads the team with 15 goals and 10 assists, so his line with Ryan Malone and Teddy Purcell will certainly be playing hard and trying to get the Lightning any sort of lead so they can revert to their overly safe trap.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Pavel Datsyuk deke the shorts off all five Lightning skaters in a drive to the net.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*