Is it time for Detroit to hit the panic button? A poor performance in the final fifteen minutes of game two leaves them down 2-0 in the first round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning on the other hand are set on cruise control as they look to take game three in Hockeytown. Even though the score board reveals a dominant performance from Tampa Bay, both teams seemed to be executing their game plan accordingly during the first two periods of play.
The first half of the opening period was rather unexciting. Each team had a handful of chances, but neither could find the back of the net. That is until Nikita Kucherov scored his third goal of the playoffs. He one-timed a feed from Victor Hedman and put the Bolts up 1-0 on the power play.
The action picked up a little bit here in the second, as each team was able to kindle some offense. Just 3:30 into the period, Dylan Larkin made a play and scored his first career post-season goal. Larkin picked up a puck that banked off the back boards and beat Ben Bishop five-hole.
Just a few minutes later, Brian Boyle regained the lead for his club. The Lightning broke out on a 3-on-2 play and Jonathan Drouin was able to feed Boyle in the high slot. A nice wrist shot beat Jimmy Howard as the tie was broken. Detroit was upset with the sequence, as they believed Boyle had committed a penalty earlier in the shift.
The Redwings battled hard and received a good call in their favor, as Nikita Nesterov was sent to the box for a high stick. Bishop was fighting through a good screen as Brad Richards took a shot that found the net. Assists on the play went to Mike Green and Tomas Tatar and the game was tied 2-2.
That goal was the last bit of hope for the Wings, as Tampa Bay went on to score three straight goals and win a pivotal game two with a score of 5-2. Tyler Johnson put two tallies on the board, scoring the game-winner just shortly after the goal from Mike Richards. Alex Killorn put the final nail in the coffin with an empty-net goal late in the period. Johnson assisted on the play to earn his fourth point in what was a monster performance from the forward.
The referees had themselves a mess to sort out at 19:06 of the final frame. A whopping thirteen penalties were handed out to all ten skaters on the ice. Both teams skated with grit and aggression.
Ben Bishop was by far the better of the two goalies, as he stopped 30 of 32 shots, while only allowing one even strength goal. Jimmy Howard only turned in a 26 saver performance on 30 total shots.
Game three will be played on April 17th at 7:00pm in Detroit.