Before the Detroit Red Wings played against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at Joe Louis Arena, coach Derek Lalonde said what he remembered about coaching the Lightning was how hard they played after a loss and how goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy could mask many problems.
“As a team, they come off poor losses..they dig in and no one digs in more than Vasi after a poor loss,” Lalonde explains.
On Thursday, the Lightning had a poor effort in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Lightning, particularly Vasilevskiy, responded by digging in with a 3-0 triumph against the surging Red Wings. Vasilevskiy looked nearly invincible, making 45 saves for his 30th career shutout. It was first shutout against Detroit.
Detroit out-shot Tampa Bay 45-18 and still couldn’t win.
The Russian netminder made big save after big save to give Tampa Bay its first win in three tries against Detroit this season. In the first period he stretched his pad across to rob Tyler Bertuzzi. In the second period, he stuffed Dylan Larkin in the crease. Vasilevskiy is now 14-2 lifetime against Detroit.
In addition to losing the game, the Red Wings lost forward Michael Rasmussen to a lower body injury. He left after blocking a shot in the first period. The extent of his injury wasn’t immediately known.
Every Loss Stings Now
Every loss is costly now for a Detroit team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in seven season. After holding a playoff spot for 24 hours, the Red Wings are now a point behind Pittsburgh for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins, who downed the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime, have 65 points. The Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres have 64 points.
The Lightning came into this game smarting from a loss to the Sabres in their last game. Brayden Point gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead by beating Ville Husso on a first period period breakaway.
Husso gave up a back-breaker to Nikita Kucherov with seven seconds left in the second period as Detroit fell behind 2-0.
The Red Wings had won seven out of their last eight coming into the game. Fans are excited about the playoff possibilities. Vaselevskiy reminded everyone getting to the playoffs won’t be easy..