Greiss posts second straight shutout as Wings defeat Tampa 1-0 in shootout
Detroit — Credit to goaltender Thomas Greiss for the two points the Red Wings earned Saturday against Tampa.
Greiss stopped 33 shots in regulation, then made the decisive save in the shootout as the Wings defeated Tampa 1-0 (4-3 in the shootout).
Sam Gagner got the winner in the shootout in the eighth round, while Jakub Vrana, Filip Zadina and Valtteri Filppula added shootout goals.
The Wings (18-26-9) ended a three-game winless streak, while earning their third win over Stanley Cup champion Tampa this season (3-4-1).
The 18 victories was one more than the Wings had during last season's pandemic-shortened season in 18 fewer games.
"Anyone who has watched us, we're a better hockey team than a year ago," coach Jeff Blashill said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. What I've liked here in the last bit is we've won with a number of games with a whole bunch of younger guys in the lineup and that's a big thing for our organization.
"That's not to discredit the older guys in the lineup, who are making great contributions, and there's a number of them, who've done a great job here,.
"But we're a better team today than we were a year ago at this time."
Blashill feels the Wings are better defensively, they're better with the puck, and they give their goaltenders a chance to make saves.
Now, they need to get better offensively.
But the Wings are in games, and give themselves a chance to win, as it did Saturday.
"You can win games when they're tight, you can't win games when their blowouts," Blashill said. "A year ago, we were blown out too much.
"(Saturday's game) again, it shows you can wins without necessarily out playing your opponent. How do you do that? By getting big saves at big moments, which we did, and not breaking too much (defensively).You can win games if you stay in them and find ways to win."
Greiss, who shut out Columbus Tuesday in similar fashion before losing in the shootout, became the first WIngs goalie since Petr Mrazek in 2018 to post consecutive shutouts.
"Just playing better, getting a couple of bounces," Greiss said. "Those bounces weren't going my way at the beginning of the year and now they're going my way."
Tampa goalie Curtis McElhinney stopped 15 shots.
Greiss was pivotal during a Tampa two-man advantage with six minutes left. Greiss made several stops, but the best one was turning aside Ondrej Palat in close, keeping the score 0-0.
"We didn't give them much, the D (defense) didn't give them much, it was huge," Greiss said.
Said Blashill: "How do you kill those (5-on-3s)? You stay tight like we did, block shots, and get huge saves. The number of blocked shots, everybody knows we're playing for the playoffs, but we have guys laying it on the line with three or four games to go and that's incredible. It shows the character of the guys."
An apparent Tampa goal with 9:23 left in regulation was waved off because of goalie interference against Greiss.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 1, Lightning 0, shootout
Ryan McDonagh looked to have the goal on a shot from the point, but Tampa forward Palat, while battling with Danny DeKeyser near the post, made contact with Greiss in the crease and nudged the goaltender out of position.
The Lightning out-shot the Wings 11-4 through one period and 17-9 through 40 minutes, but the prime scoring chances for either team were few and far between.
Tampa, arguably, had the best one late in the second period with the teams skating four players per side.
Brayden Point and Palat were on a 2-on-1 rush, but flubbed a pass near the crease.
Point had another prime scoring opportunity early in the third, but jammed the puck into the post rather than the net, while driving to the net.
The Lightning (34-14-3) saw their four-game win streak come to an end.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Red Wings
Faceoff: 3 p.m., Sunday, Little Caesars Arena.
TV/radio: NBC-Channel 4/WWJ-950 AM.
Outlook: The Red Wings (18-26-9) have an opportunity to even the season-series with Tampa (34-14-3). The Wings are 3-3-1 against the Lightning this season.