Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson and Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop each went 5-for-5 before Lightning captain Martin St. Louis scored in the sixth round of the tiebreaker to give the Lightning a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.
St. Louis skated down the right side, cut toward the middle and beat Gustavsson with a wrist shot. Bishop ended the game by denying Johan Franzen's wrister, giving the Lightning back-to-back victories against the Red Wings for the first time in franchise history. Tampa Bay won 3-2 in overtime at Detroit on Nov. 9. The Lightning are 7-24-2-1 all-time against the Red Wings.
"We went to overtime with them in our last game against Detroit but I thought we could have won that game in regulation," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Tonight, you could argue that we were lucky to tie in regulation. Bishop made some huge saves for us to push us to overtime."
Cooper didn't appear surprised that the shootout went past the regulation three shooters to a side.
"It almost looked like these goalies wouldn't be beat at all and it really would be a long one," Cooper said.
It was long enough for the Red Wings to fall to 0-6 in shootouts this season and they have now dropped 11 consecutive tiebreakers.
"I thought it was a good game," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought our team played real hard. They might have been more off the rush. We did more off the cycle and grind. Both goalies are as big as a house. There's no room and both played really well."
Bishop, now 11-3-0 at Tampa Bay Times Forum this season, made 28 saves through 65 minutes. Gustavsson stopped 26 shots.
Nikita Kucherov scored Tampa Bay's only goal and tied the game when he took advantage of a screen in front of Gustavsson to score from the slot with 46 seconds left in the second period. It was his third goal of the season and second in as many games.
"I felt good about my game tonight," Gustavsson said. "The goal, maybe I could have tried to be more aggressive there, but I didn't really see the shot."
Until Kucherov's goal, the period was notable for the scoring chances that weren't converted. St. Louis broke in alone on Gustavsson but fired wide left. Moments later Bishop stopped Drew Miller's shot from point-blank range and finished the period with a diving cross-crease pad save on Daniel Alfredsson after Alfredsson had taken a pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey scored his first goal in 51 games at 15:04 of the first period to put the Red Wings ahead.
Quincey backhanded a shot from the high slot that Bishop failed to catch cleanly. When the puck hit the ice to his left, Bishop lost sight of it; Quincey followed his shot and tapped the puck into the net for his first goal since Feb. 27.
Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play. The Lightning are now riding a 5-for-33 streak with the man advantage.
Tampa Bay (18-10-3) begins a three-game trip with a game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. For the Lightning the goal is simpl: Keep putting up points.
"Our goal from day one is we want to make the playoffs. That's it. That's all we want to do," Cooper said. "We want to get to the tournament. You can't win the big silver cup unless you get to the tournament. But you have to keep accumulating points."
Detroit (15-9-9) hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins, also on Saturday, and their immediate task is more basic: Find a way to win a shootout.
"We've got to find a way to score a goal for our goalie," Babcock said. "Our goalie can't shut them all out. Guys that have scored fairly easily before, their attempts look like they're tight, too. We've got to change that, too."
After going 6-for-6 and earning his third shootout win this season, Bishop said his approach to the tiebreaker is simple.
"My mindset going into a shootout?" Bishop smiled. "Don't let them score."
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