Live Wings blog: Bolts win 5-2, lead series 2-0

Bruce Mason
The Detroit News

Tyler Johnson scores the game-winning goal en route to a four-point night to continue his demolition of the Wings, as Tampa Bay wins 5-2 in Game 2 on Friday.

A wild melee transpired in the final minute as the Lightning take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The teams finished with 119 combined penalty minutes (Detroit 68, Tampa Bay 51).

Game 3 is Sunday at 7 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.

The difference in this series so far: Finishing. Tampa Bay features snipers who bury their chances in the likes of Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. Who do the Wings have? Who can finish? The Wings’ Gustav Nyquist should be credited for creating scoring chances (eight shots in series), but he cannot find the back of the net.

Will Wings coach Jeff Blashill make lineup changes for Game 3? Will he insert defenseman Brendan Smith (6-foot-2, 211 pounds), who was second in penalty minutes in the regular season? Smith was a healthy scratch for the final seven games of the regular season, and both games of this series.

Will Jimmy Howard continue to start in the net, or will Blashill turn to Petr Mrazek?

Johnson now has six points in this series. He has 13 points in his nine playoff games against Detroit.

Wild melee unfolds

A wild melee unfolded with 53.2 seconds left that has gloves and sticks all over the ice.

The Wings' Justin Abdelkader threw a bunch of punches at Tampa Bay's Mike Blunden, who rose from a pile with a bloody mouth.

The scrum started when Brad Richards slashed Tampa Bay defenseman Andrej Sustr, which caused Nikita Nesterov to jump into the play, and then a whole pack of Bolts and Wings players followed.

Tampa Bay leads 5-2 with 53.2 seconds left and is on the verge of jumping ahead 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Sunday at 7 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.

Bolts add empty-net goal

Alex Killorn's empty-net goal extends the Tampa Bay lead to 5-2 with 2:44 left.

Tyler Johnson assisted on the play for his fourth point of the night.

Johnson does it again

Tyler Johnson is becoming The Wing Killer of all Wing killers. The Lightning forward scored his second goal of the period to give Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead with 5:12 left in the game.

Johnson scored the go-ahead goal 8:16 earlier.

Johnson has 16 career playoff goals, and half of them (eight) have come against Detroit.

Here's how Tampa Bay's fourth goal transpired: Nikita Kucherov (goal, assist) sent a centering pass to Johnson, who was trailing on the play. His one-timer beat goalie Jimmy Howard, who was likely screened by Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser.

Johnson has three points tonight.

In previous years, Adam Deadmarsh (Colorado, L.A. Kings), Chris Drury (Colorado) and Joe Pavelski (San Jose) hurt the Wings badly. Johnson might make a new category for himself, now with 12 points against Detroit in nine playoff games across the past two years.

Green denied 

Detroit defenseman Mike Green has a great scoring chance as he cuts across the circles — but cannot find the back of the net.

Green's backhanded shot hit teammate Justin Abdelkader in the hip, then traveled in mid-air and hit Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan, and just missed the post.

A majority of the play has been inside the Tampa Bay zone across the past two minutes, but Lightning goalie Ben Bishop preserves the 3-2 Tampa Bay lead with 5:28 to go.

Guess who? Johnson gives Bolts lead

Just 2:05 after the Wings' Brad Richards tied the game, guess who gave Tampa Bay the lead? Tyler Johnson, whose goal gives the Bolts a 3-2 lead with 13:28 left.

Johnson has 11 points in nine playoff games against the Wings across the past two postseasons.

Here's how the go-ahead goal transpired: Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn cruised behind the net and tried a wrap-around, as Wings goalie Jimmy Howard committed to the far post.

Killorn's attempt grazed off Niklas Kronwall's skate and the puck sat in the crease. Johnson stormed the net and banked in the loose puck (as he absorbed a check from Dylan Larkin, too).

Johnson had six goals (seven points) in last year's series (including a Game 4 overtime winner that completed a 2-0 Wings collapse with five and a half minutes left).

In Game 1 on Wednesday, Johnson had two assists. He has two points tonight.

Richards ties it

Finally, a power play goal.

Wings forward Brad Richards shoots a wrist shot at the top of the circle through a screen (provided by Riley Sheahan), and the puck gets past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop. Richards had one goal in his past 15 games entering tonight.

It’s 2-2 with 15:33 left in the third period.

The Wings were 0-for-9 in the series on the power play prior to the goal.

Sheahan did his best impersonation of former Wing Tomas Holmstrom, who was notorious for providing screens in front of the crease. Sheahan leaped out of the way as Richards' shot snuck into the upper-left corner.

As for Richards, he said prior to this series that he wanted to live in Tampa Bay after he retired. Maybe he should reconsider it after a scrum-filled series that has Lightning fans chanteing "Red Wings s----."

Richards, 35, won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay in 2004 and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Wings go on power play

Tampa Bay’s Nikita Nesterov goes to the box for high-sticking Gustav Nyquist.

The Wings will go on the power play for the fifth time tonight. Can they get the tying goal?

There is 17:07 left. Tampa Bay leads 2-1.

Tampa Bay has won 25 of 45 draws tonight (56 percent).

Bolts lead in 3rd

The third period begins. Tampa Bay leads 2-1 with 18:30 left, as the Wings seek to tie the game and the best-of-seven series.

The Wings have held a lead for 5:22 in this series (happened in Game 1).

Rivalry is here

When’s the last time Wings fans disliked an opponent as badly as Tampa Bay? San Jose in 2011, maybe? The Sharks beat the Wings in back-to-back years, but they were in opposite divisions under the old NHL playoff seeding format.

Tonight, the scrums and heavy hits are in full-force yet again for Game 2. (There were 18 minors in Game 1.)

Pavel Datsyuk may have lost a tooth on a high stick. Tampa Bay's Jonathan Drouin is a pest (physically and on the score sheet). Detroit's Justin Abdelkader leveled Nikita Nesterov. Brian Boyle and Victor Hedman are making a physical impact. The Wings' Danny DeKeyser hammered Ondrej Palat.

But Tampa Bay has the final laugh on the scoreboard, thus far, leading 2-1 after two periods.

Back to the rivalry talk. Maybe the NHL finally got it right with these division alignments, with second place meeting third place each year. As the Wings and Bolts meet for the second straight year, there is bad blood.

It's typically Chicago, Colorado or St. Louis that chants "Red Wings s---." But we heard it tonight from Tampa Bay fans in Amalie Arena.

Detroit center Dylan Larkin tries to steal the puck away from Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman in the first period.

Wings 0-for-9 on power play 

The Wings' Riley Sheahan is denied by Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop with 49.3 seconds left in the period (and 24 seconds left in the power play).

The Wings power play is 0-for-9 in the series (0-for-4 tonight). Dylan Larkin created the scoring chance and set-up Sheahan.

Once the penalty transpired, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard stopped Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman on a slap shot with 15 seconds left in the period.

Another Detroit power play

Tampa Bay’s Brian Boyle is whistled for interference with 2:25 left in period. The Wings power play is 0-for-8 in the series.

Tampa Bay leads the game 2-1.

Penalty killed

The Wings cannot convert on the power play, and fail to generate any prime chances.

Detroit goes on power play

Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman is whistled for hooking Luke Glendening.

The Wings will go on the power play with 5:57 left in the second period. Tampa Bay leads 2-1.

Scrum unfolds 

Another melee unfolds with 8:10 left (and 32 seconds left in the Tampa Bay power play).

Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser levels Ondrej Palat behind the net, which led to a scrum. (There was not a penalty on the play).

From there, a melee unfolded. The Wings’ Riley Sheahan and Jonathan Drouin exchanged shoves. Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman went after Alexey Marchenko.

The Tampa Bay fans start to chant “Red Wings s---."

Hedman, Drouin and Sheahan get penalties, which gives the Wings a power play for 1:29.

Did Datsyuk lose a tooth?

Pavel Datsyuk absorbs a high-stick to the mouth which draws blood … and gets a two-minute penalty for roughing.

Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman delivered a high-stick that caught the mouth of Datsyuk, who retaliated by hitting Hedman in the head. But only Datsyuk was whistled. Hedman did not get a penalty.

Datsyuk covered his mouth, and went to the dressing room with a bloody mouth. (Tomas Tatar served his penalty.)

It appeared like Henrik Zetterberg picked up an object on the ice. It's believed to be Datsyuk's tooth.

Drouin gives Bolts 2-1 lead

Well, that didn’t last long.

Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin uses his speed to create a three-on-two rush, and sends a drop pass to Brian Boyle, who buries a wrist shot past Jimmy Howard for a 2-1 Tampa Bay lead.

There’s 13:14 left in the second period. The goal came 3:36 after the Wings' Dylan Larkin tied the game.

Boyle looked like he interfered with the Wings' Luke Glendening on the prior play (from center ice into the Tampa Bay zone), which drew the rage of the Detroit bench.

Drouin is quickly joining the likes of Brad Marchand (Boston, 2014) and Ryan Clowe (San Jose, 2010 and 2011) as a playoff pest.  He exchanged words with Larkin and challenged him to fight in the first period (this coming after Larkin leveled Drouin at center ice, of course). Drouin later slashed Henrik Zetterberg in the second period.

In Game 1, Drouin (5-foot-11, 186 pounds) logged 17:39 of ice time, the second-best total for Tampa Bay, and was spotted mixing it up with Wings defenseman Alexey Marchenko (6-3, 210). Later he cross-checked Andreas Athanasiou (6-0, 192).

Larkin ties it 

Wings rookie Dylan Larkin comes out of the penalty box and ties the game 1-1 at the 3:30 mark of the first period. The Wings' Jonathan Ericsson gets an assist.

Ericsson's long pass went deep into the Tampa Bay zone, and Larkin raced to the loose puck. It caromed off the back boards as Larkin used his speed to get to it behind the Tampa Bay defense. He was all alone on goalie Ben Bishop, and buried the puck for his first career playoff goal.

Larkin, 19, is the youngest Red Wing to score a playoff goal since Keith Primeau.  

It was April 8, 1991 when Primeau scored on Vincent Riendeau to help the Wings win 5-2 against St. Louis in Game 3. (The Wings lost the series in seven games.)

Primeau was the third-overall pick of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Two picks later, Pittsburgh selected Jaromir Jagr.

Larkin goes to box

The Wings' Dylan Larkin takes a hooking penalty at the 1:12 mark of the second period. Tampa Bay leads 1-0.

Coach Jeff Blashill is juggling lines. Darren Helm was paired with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

During the Tampa Bay power play, the Wings' Justin Abdelkader leveled Nikita Nesterov inside the Tampa Bay zone (no penalty was called).

The Wings killed the Tampa Bay power play.

Bolts lead after 1st

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 after the first period — and it could be worse, considering the Lightning hit the post three times in the opening period.

Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin hit the cross bar with 42 seconds left in the period. He wheeled past Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and softly lifted the puck over goalie Jimmy Howard’s shoulder — but hit the bar.

Tampa Bay leads the best-of-seven series 1-0. 

The Wings outshot the Lightning 15-12 in the first period, but Tampa Bay had many more scoring chances.

The Wings’ lack of discipline hurt them. Penalties to Kyle Quincey (roughing: Smacked the back of Cedric Paquette’s helmet) and Justin Abdelkader (tripping of Tyler Johnson), were avoidable.

Abdelkader's penalty came 27 seconds after Gustav Nyquist was whistled for slashing, which gave Tampa Bay a 5-on-3 for 1:33 — and Nikita Kucherov scored 30 seconds into the two-man advantage.

Abdelkader’s intensity can be advantageous — or damaging. Consider Game 1: He scored a goal and was a one-man wrecking crew, viciously hitting Lightning players. He finished with five body checks, including a heavy hit along the glass to Cedric Paquette.

But Abdelkader also took a run at Jonathan Drouin near the benches, and was whistled for interference.

After the first period of Game 2, Abdelkader now has eight penalty minutes in four periods of the series. 

Kucherov gives Bolts lead

Nikita Kucherov strikes, again.

The Lighting take advantage of a 5-on-3 situation, thanks to back-to-back penalties given to Justin Abdelkader (tripping) and Gustav Nyquist (slashing).

Kucherov unleashed a one-timer on a pass from Victor Hedman to make it 1-0 with 4:43 left in the first period. Kucherov's goal was from a near-identical spot as his first goal in Game 1.

Tampa Bay scored 30 seconds into the two-man advantage.

The Wings will have to find a way to negate Kucherov, whose bullet-like shooting is a force to be reckoned with.  Kucherov’s first-goal missile in Game 1 would have beaten any NHL goalie, and resembled those blasts from Brendan Shanahan and Brett Hull during their 1990s heyday.

Kucherov, 22, scored a team-leading 30 goals in the regular season. His 22 playoff points in the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015 was second-best on the team.

Kucherov has factored into all four Tampa Bay goals in this series (three goals, assist).

Bolts have 5-on-3

Justin Abdelkader now heads to the penalty box for a trip of Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson.

The Lightning have a 5-on-3 for 1:33.

Shorthanded again

Just 69 seconds after Kyle Quincey comes out of the penalty box, the Wings will have to kill another Tampa Bay power play.

The Wings' Gustav Nyquist is whistled for slashing.

It's 0-0 with 5:32 left in the first period.

Wings kill penalty

Detroit’s Kyle Quincey gets a roughing penalty for smacking Cedric Paquette in the back of the helmet.

On the power play, Wing killer Tyler Johnson (two assists in Game 1; six goals in last year's series) hit the inside of the left post.

There is 8:49 left in the first period. The score is 0-0.

The Wings have killed five Tampa Bay power plays in the series.

DeKeyser saves goal twice

Tampa Bay leading scorer Nikita Kucherov — the Game 1 hero (two goals) — crashes a rebound atop the crease, but his stick is tied-up by Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser.

On the same sequence, as the puck glided in the slot, Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn found the loose puck — but his shot found the back of the pants of DeKeyser, who covered the wide-open goal as Jimmy Howard was sprawled to the ice.

It's 0-0 with 9:34 left in the first period.

After being pushed around in the opening game, Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin has answered the bell in Game 2 with a heavy hit at center ice of Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin.

The Lightning's Victor Hedman followed with a cross-check to Larkin, then Drouin exchanged words with Larkin, as the series' physicality ensues after 18 minor penalties in Game 1.

Bolts threaten twice, but denied

Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat saw a wide-open net as Wings goalie Jimmy Howard committed to the left of the crease. But Palat’s stick was wrapped up by Henrik Zetterberg before he could get to the loose puck.

Moments later, Howard stuck out his right leg pad to stop Mike Blunden’s backhander on a rebound as he crashed the net.

There is 13:23 left in the first period. It’s 0-0.

Bolts kill Detroit power play

The Wings power play is now 0-for-6 in the series (scoreless in five opportunities in Game 1).

The Wings’ best chance came from Henrik Zetterberg, whose soft shot from the side of net was stopped easily by Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop. Niklas Kronwall took a wrist shot from the slot, but it was also turned aside.

Zetterberg has not scored in 12 straight games.

There is 15:28 to go in the first period. It's 0-0.

Detroit power play

Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn gets a holding penalty at the 2:00 mark. The Wings are heading to the power play.

Puck drops

The puck drops in Tampa Bay as the Wings seek to tie the best-of-seven series.

It's scoreless in the early stages of the first period. 

Will we see the post-whistle scrums again? There were 18 minor penalties in Game 1. Charging. Roughing. Cross-checking. Slashing. Old-time playoff hockey.

The Wings need to bury their prime scoring opportunities. There were so many in the opener. Riley Sheahan shorthanded. Brad Richards in the slot. Gustav Nyquist numerous times (four shots on goal). Mike Green in the final moments (stick-checked by Tampa Bay’s Valtteri Filppula).

Equally important: The Wings must slow the Bolts' top line of Nikita Kucherov-Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson, which accounted for all three goals in Game 1.

The Wings have lost four straight games in Tampa Bay, dating back to last year’s Game 7 in the first round.

How to watch: Wings battle Lightning in Game 2

The Red Wings and Lightning resume their first round playoff series with Game 2 tonight and the rancor from Wednesday’s 3-2 Tampa Bay victory is still simmering.

Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg was not pleased with a slash to the wrist he took from former teammate Valtteri Filppula in Game 1, which was also won by the Lightning on the physical front.

The Wings are also dealing with a lack of muscle on the goal-scoring front. Gustav Nyquist, Brad Richards, Tomas Tatar and Zetterberg are mired in slumps. Zetterberg, for instance, has only one goal in 25 games while Nyquist has only one in 18 games, Richards one in 15, and Tatar one in 11.

Jimmy Howard, who stopped 31 of 34 shots in Game 1, is expected to start for the Red Wings. The Lightning’s 6-foot-7 goalie Ben Bishop will return after a 34-save performance in the series opener.


When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Fla.

TV/radio: CBC, FSD/97.1

Series: Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (best-of-seven)