The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their hot early-season play by doing something they hadn't done in nearly 20 years.
"We sit there as a staff, and the organization hasn't won too often here. But we don't want to put that in our guys heads," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That was in the past. New staff, new team, moving forward we need to win games here, if we want to make it to the playoffs and tonight was a good start for us."
Richard Panik stole the puck from Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey behind the net and made a quick feed to Purcell between the hash marks. Purcell rocketed a high shot past Jimmy Howard and just under the crossbar to end Tampa Bay's 0-11-1 drought in Detroit and an 0-7-1 streak against the Red Wings overall.
"It's nice to be a part of this one," said Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos, whose second-period goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. "These guys are a great hockey team, a great organization, and they're in our division this year. That's a big point for us."
The win was the fourth in a row for Tampa Bay, which leads the Atlantic Division with a 12-4-0 record.
"We’re proving that we're for real," Stamkos said. "I think a lot of people before the season wouldn't have expected this from us. I think we're building as a team.
"We played great today; we probably deserved a win in regulation. We stuck with it, and it's a good feeling right now."
Henrik Zetterberg scored both goals for the Red Wings. He tied the game with 4:12 remaining when he took a drop pass from Danny DeKeyser and blasted a high slap shot from well inside the right circle past Ben Bishop (25 saves).
“Obviously we want two points at home,” Zetterberg said. “Somehow we can’t find a way to really get it right now. We fought hard. It wasn’t perfect. We found a way to tie it up. Once again, we fell short.”
Howard finished with 32 saves for the Red Wings, who fell to 9-5-4 and are winless in their past five home games. It's Detroit's longest non-winning streak at Joe Louis Arena since the end of the 1996-97 season, when the Red Wings were 0-2-2-1 in their final five home games.
“I thought here today we were fine and then in the third period they suddenly got chances,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “There was nothing going on, neither team could get a shot on goal, and then bang, suddenly we’re pressing. But I thought even when it was tied 2-2 – we came back to tie it, why would we be giving up opportunities? Makes no sense to me.
“We have to be way more efficient on the back. We got to get way more out of more guys. I think we’re a better team than we played today. I got to give them credit, they played fast, they were good, their D was good, way more efficient than our D. Therefore they had more speed throughout their lineup."
Detroit grabbed a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the game, thanks to Zetterberg's anticipation. Radko Gudas attempted a pass up the middle from behind his net. But the Red Wings captain stepped in, knocked the puck onto his own stick and zipped a shot from the slot past a surprised Bishop for his ninth of the season.
Ryan Malone's persistence got the Lightning even at 10:11. He picked up a pass off the end boards by defenseman Matthew Carle, came around and tried a wraparound at the left post that was denied by Howard. But no one picked up Malone, who found the loose puck and lifted it into a wide-open net for his second goal of the season and first in 10 games. It was also his first career goal against the Red Wings.
Detroit had gone more than four periods without a power play, then spent 8:00 of the first 11:46 of the second period playing with the extra man. That included a four-minute advantage after Nate Thompson was assessed a double minor for high sticking Daniel Alfredsson.
But not only did the Lightning kill off the four-minute advantage, they took the lead four seconds after Thompson returned. Stamkos, playing at the end of the penalty kill, took a diagonal feed from Victor Hedman in the right circle and beat Howard with a high wrister. It was his 14th goal of the season, tying him with Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues for the League lead.
"That was the turning point of the game," Stamkos said of the penalty to Thompson. "We knew if we wanted to be in the game we had to kill that off, and then we got one right after the penalty ended."
Stamkos nearly had his second of the night, but hit the post from near the right faceoff dot midway through the third period. Howard also stopped Tyler Johnson on a breakaway with 5:35 remaining.
Those missed chances came back to cost the Lightning when Zetterberg's high blast from just to the outside of the right faceoff dot beat Bishop cleanly on Detroit's third shot on goal of the period.
Johnson fired wide from the slot in the final 30 seconds of regulation, but Purcell didn't miss after Quincey's turnover.
“They had too many chances," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said, "and eventually, they’re a good team and they have players who are actually going to score on you. We turned the puck over too many times tonight and they were able to capitalize on that."
It was Tampa Bay center Valtteri Filppula's first game against the Red Wings. The 29-year-old had spent his entire career with Detroit until signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the Lightning in July.
"It was a little weird, especially during warmups," Filppula said. "But as soon as the game starts, you kind of forget about all that and try to focus on playing."
Material from team media was used in this report.
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