Frans Nielsen on the Red Wings' disappointing loss to Tampa. The Detroit News
Detroit — This was one, ultimately, the Red Wings should have had, should have completed to earn a victory.
Never mind they were playing a Tampa Bay team that has most the points (43) in the NHL, and whose roster is filled with stars.
They were up on the league-leading Lightning by two goals in the third period, but wound up losing 6-5 in a shootout Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena.
The Lightning (21-7-1), who defeated the Wings (12-12-4) for the 13th consecutive time in the regular season, won the shootout 2-1, with Nikita Kucherov providing the winner.
The Wings, appropriately, felt as they let an important point in the standings slip away.
“We played a pretty good game, we gave them a hard game,” said Gustav Nyquist, who had two goals. “A shootout, we had a 4-on-3 chance (power play) in overtime, and shootouts are a coin flip, it can go either way.
“We should have finished this one off.”
What also hurt for the Wings, was a hand injury to defenseman Danny DeKeyser that will keep the defenseman out for “multiple weeks,” coach Jeff Blashill said.
DeKeyser joins Anthony Mantha (hand, out 4-to-6 weeks), who injured his right hand in a fight Sunday and had surgery Tuesday afternoon.
The Wings also were without Tyler Bertuzzi, who is serving a two-game suspension.
DeKeyser inadvertently blocked Steven Stamkos’ shot in the second period with his left hand, and instantly began shaking his arm in pain.
DeKeyser has twice missed playing time with left hand injuries this season.
The Wings are already missing Trevor Daley (lower body) on defense.
“I’ll have a better update tomorrow,” Blashill said. “He’ll be out for multiple weeks.”
Said defenseman Niklas Kronwall: “It’s a big loss for sure. He logs a lot of minutes, plays in a lot of defensive situations, plays against teams’ top lines every night. It’s a big loss for us, for sure.”
Frans Nielsen provided the highlights for the Wings, scoring three goals.
But Tampa's Cedric Paquette tied the game 5-5 with a shorthanded goal at 14:58 of the third period. Mathieu Joseph, who had two goals, raced to gather the puck in the corner and fed Paquette for his seventh goal.
Nielsen came into the game with one goal, but tripled his output.
It was the first hat trick by a Red Wings player in Little Caesars Arena.
“It’s a tough loss for sure,” Nielsen said. “At least we got a point. After we got our fifth goal, we were a little bit on our heels.”
Blashill felt his team had a great first period, but weren’t able to match that level the remainder of the game.
Coach Jeff Blashill on Danny DeKeyser's injury, and the Wings' disappointing loss The Detroit News
“They were pushing hard, so it wasn’t like we were in command with the two-goal lead,” Blashill said. “Then, you give up a D-zone goal and give up a shorty, and it’s a ballgame.”
Tampa goaltender Eddie Pasquale, 28, was making his NHL debut. The former Grand Rapids Griffins backup (2016-17) played 235 games in the American League before getting his first NHL start Tuesday.
Pasquale made 19 of 24 saves and stopped 2 of 3 Wings’ attempts in the shootout.
If anything, the Wings felt they could have put more pressure on Pasquale, who looked uneasy at times.
“We passed up some shots,” Blashill said. “We had outnumbered rushes where we could have shot the puck, tried to make a play or two.
“I will give Pasquale credit. He made some saves late. He made a couple of real good saves late to keep the game tied.”
Nyquist scored his second of the game, and sixth of the season, at 4:06 of the third period, squeezing one through Pasquale’s pads — the weakest goal Pasquale allowed on the evening — giving the Wings a 5-3 lead.
But Tampa Bay cut it to 5-4 on J.T. Miller's sixth goal, at 9:50 of the third period, Miller beating goalie Jimmy Howard ( 30 saves) from the dot.
The Wings scored twice in the first period, Nyquist and Nielsen scoring 21 seconds apart late in the period, to open a 2-0 lead.
But Tampa rebounded with two Joseph goals, tying the game at 11:37 of the second period, before Nielsen broke it with his second goal, skating through the hash marks and beating Pasquale high.
Steven Stamkos tied it again, 3-3, with his 10th goal on a breakaway, taking a lead pass from Ryan Callahan at 14:27.