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Detroit Red Wings Complete Tampa Bay Sweep, Beat Lightning

Red Wings, Lions both beat Tampa Bay on Sunday



Daniel Sprong, Red Wings
Daniel Sprong scored the game winner as Detroit beat Tampa Bay 2-1.

If your city is in need of sweeping, the Detroit clean up crew is at your service.

Just hours after the Detroit Lions downed the Tampa Bay Buccaneeers 31-23 in the NFL Divisional Round playoffs at Ford Field, on the other side of Woodward Avenue the Red Wings were edging the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 at Little Caesars Arena.

One week earlier, the Red Wings beat the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. The following day, the Lions dispatched the Los Angeles Rams from the NFL playoffs.

Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon, who made 28 saves in the victory, was trying to claim that the team was so focused on the task at hand that they knew few details of the crosstown victory by the team that is also his namesake.

“No, no,” Lyon said. “Everybody was super dialed in. Nobody was watching, checking the score or anything. We’re all business.”

That’s when the charade came crashing down.

“No, we were watching,” Lyon admitted. “It was pretty cool.”

The Lions are heading to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1991 season. While the playoff drought of the Red Wings hasn’t lasted nearly that long – they were NHL postseason participants most recently following the 2015-16 regular season – it still seems interminable.

That’s victories such as Sunday’s triumph feel so valuable, especially coming home off of Friday’s 4-2 loss at Carolina.

“Really difficult to come off a road trip emotionally and physically,” Lyon said. “The way that we responded tonight was awesome.

“You can’t let those little snowballs start rolling down the hill. We kind of nipped it in the bud.”

Sprong Snipes Winner For Detroit

While the big guns combined to produce Detroit’s first goal – Lucas Raymond was the scorer on an assist from captain Dylan Larkin – it was two guys who were offseason afterthoughts in the free-agent frenzy that were front and center for much of the night.

Lyon’s work in improving to 7-2-1 over his past 10 decisions was vital, because at the other end, Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was at his acrobatic best. At one point, the Red Wings were holding a 29-10 edge on the shot clock.

“I felt very fortunate to get two on him,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Because of our goalie, it was enough.”

And because of Sprong, the Red Wings got to two. A guy who makes the most out of very little, Sprong skated just 10:28 on Sunday. In that time, he would produce a team-high six shots and beat Vasilevskiy on a second-period breakaway with what would prove to be the game winner.

At the time, Sprong was skating on the second line in place of the injured Patrick Kane. On his clear cut break, he kind of resembled Kane, moving at pace and zipping a quick shot past Vasilevskiy on the glove side.

There’s a reason for that and no, it isn’t because Sprong is some sort of shape shifter or transformer.

On Sunday morning, Kane was schooling Sprong on how to beat Vasilevkiy one on one.

“He was telling me all morning low glove, low glove,” Sprong explained. “Vasilevskiy’s probably the best goalie in the league. It’s not easy to score on him. So it helped.”