TAMPA, Florida – The Detroit The Red Wings have managed to keep in touch with the best team in the NHL.
Facing the Tampa Bay Lightning, eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday at the Amalie Arena, the Wings have fallen behind the year but have not collapsed. The Wings lost for the 14th consecutive time against the Lightning, but the 3-2 final will help at least the chances of the Wings' lottery.
Thomas Vanek brought back the Wings in goals at the end of the second period giving Niklas Kronwall the advantage. Jonathan Bernier threw two shots at Yannick Gourde in Tampa Bay's third counterattack, which was one of Bernier's many remarkable saves in the third period. Anthony Mantha picked up a pass from Kronwall and used Vanek as a screen to pass the score at 3-2 with 56 seconds to play in regulation.
Nikita Kucherov scored twice to reach 110 points this season.
Red Wings right winger Anthony Mantha qualified for the puck in the first period on Saturday, March 9, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo: Jason Behnken, AP)
Early lightning score
The Wings fell behind after three minutes of play when Ryan McDonagh shot a shot from the blue line in traffic. A few minutes later, the goal horn sounded again, but the officials immediately signaled to the goal and the video critics revealed that Victor Hedman's shot never crossed the goal line. The video coverage of the goal that brought the score to 2-0 was a misjudgment while Kucherov was wide open in the net, leading to his 32nd goal of the season. Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley were both tied behind the goal line and Andreas Athanasiou did not cover Kucherov.
Filip Zadina made his sixth appearance of the season on a line with Frans Nielsen and Vanek, as well as on Nielsen's power play unit. Zadina forced two home runs by Louis Domingue on wrist shots in the second half and seemed confident of skating with the puck on the second power play, trying to get the puck to Nielsen. Zadina got his third power play with the Wings when he called on Mathieu Joseph. Zadina got his first NHL assist when he participated in Vanek's power play goal
Vanek scored his 13th goal of the season with a second to play in the Wings' fifth power play. Vanek was to the right of the Tampa net when Niklas Kronwall shot a shot from the blue line. Vanek managed to tilt the puck to shoot the Wings in 2-1, with four seconds remaining in the second period. It was Vanek's 47th career point (29 goals, 18 assists) in 48 career games against the Lightning. It was also his third point in three games since his return from a hip injury.
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