DETROIT (AP)Rookie forward Elmer Soderblom’s fourth goal of the season snapped a tie early in the third period and gave the Detroit Red Wings the lead for good as they downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-4 on Wednesday.
The Red Wings ended a season-high six-game losing streak (0-4-2). Their previous victory was a 4-2 verdict over the Lightning at Tampa Bay on Dec. 6. The Lightning are 7-3 in their last 10 games, with Detroit accounting for two of those losses.
”I think overall everyone was competing, getting to their spots and it just went well for us,” Detroit’s Michael Rasmussen said.
Tampa Bay goalie Brian Elliott retrieved a loose puck behind his net and attempted to rim it around the boards. Detroit center Joe Veleno intercepted the puck and quickly fed Soderblom for the tap in into the vacated net 3:48 into the third.
Detroit captain Dylan Larkin scored midway through the final period, giving the Red Wings a 5-3 lead. It was his second goal of the night and team-leading 12th of the season.
”It feels really good, really good,” Larkin said. ”It was just a massive two points for our hockey team. We need to start getting some traction and start playing like this more often.”
After pulling Elliott for an extra attacker, Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning to narrow Detroit’s lead to a goal. David Perron and Rasmussen, with his second goal of the night, scored empty-net goals to ice the game for the Red Wings.
Larkin’s first goal, at 11:08 of the second period, gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game at 3-2. But Tampa Bay’s Ross Colton pounced on a turnover by Detroit forward Adam Erne just over two minutes later to tie.
Brayden Point and Alex Killorn scored in the first period to twice give Tampa Bay one-goal leads. However, Olli Maatta and Rasmussen responded for the Red Wings, and it was tied at 2 at the end of the period.
”They were obviously hungry after losing six straight, I think, but it was more than that,” Lightning forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. ”We started inviting them into the game a little and you can’t do that in this league.”
Elliott made 24 saves as he dropped to 8-2 on the season. Ville Husso had 34 stops in the Detroit net while ending a personal 0-3-2 slump.
”We were sitting here in an 0-4-2 stretch, but anyone that’s watched us, we’ve been better than that,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. ”I wouldn’t call it unlucky, but probably not complete in our game. I just thought we got what we deserved tonight.”
Tampa Bay went 0-for-5 on the power play, including a five-on-three advantage for 1:53 during the first period.
”If you let a two-minute 5-on-3 slide by, it is going to change the game,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”They got momentum off of it and we felt sorry for ourselves. What did Ted Lasso say? You have to have the memory of a goldfish.”
Detroit has no timetable as to when forward Jakub Vrana might see game action. He rejoined the club last week after spending two months in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Lightning: Tampa Bay’s game at Buffalo on Friday was postponed due to an impending winter storm and rescheduled for March 4. The Lightning are off until Dec. 28 when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
Red Wings: At the Ottawa Senators on Friday night.
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