The Lightning have had games this year in which they've carried play for long stretches, but didn't pick up the win. A few isolated mistakes along with an outstanding performance from the opposition goaltender tipped the balance in the other direction. Tonight, that didn't happen. The Lightning controlled the action for most of the night and, despite making a few isolated mistakes and having to deal with a strong game from the opposing goalie, they emerged victorious.
In terms of puck possession, the Lightning dominated the Red Wings. They outshot Detroit, 39-20. Shot attempts finished 69-30 in favor of Tampa Bay. The ice was tilted throughout the evening.
But while the Red Wings didn't accumulate many offensive zone shifts, they did generate a few chances off counters. Curtis McElinney made some key saves on those looks, most of which came in the first period. In the second and third periods, the Lightning greatly limited Detroit's counter opportunities. Luke Glendening did have a shorthanded breakaway early in the third period when the score was tied at one, but that was the result of a weird carom off the glass following a Detroit clear, not due to a Lightning turnover. McElhinney stopped the Glendening breakaway with one of his most important saves of the night.
So for much of the game, the Lightning not only spent lots of time in the offensive zone, they did it with excellent puck management and solid positional play (so they didn't create openings for the opposition). And if not for Jonathan Bernier, they would have won the game by a wide margin. Only two pucks got past him. One of those was an Ondrej Palat tip. The other was a perfectly-placed shot from Brayden Point into a small opening between Bernier's right shoulder and the top of the net.
Those two goals were enough for the Lightning to earn the victory, a result they absolutely deserved.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Ondrej Palat - Lightning. Goal.
2. Victor Hedman - Lightning. Assist.
3. Jonathan Bernier - Red Wings. 37 saves.