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Instant analysis: Red Wings vs. Lightning, Game 4

Kucherov, Drouin too much for Detroit

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

DETROIT -- The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal on the power play at 17:01 of the third period, after Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist tied the game for the Red Wings in the second period.

Nikita Kucherov scored two power-play goals for the Lightning, giving him five goals in four games. He needs one more to tie the Tampa Bay record for goals in a playoff series. He had 10 in the playoffs last year, tied for third in the NHL.

What we learned: The Lightning have plenty of skill and speed to win this series even without captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot). Kucherov is an incredible playoff performer. Jonathan Drouin is an asset on the power play. And Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper knows what he's doing when he goes with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. He won three games against Detroit when he did it last year and won again Tuesday.

Video: TBL@DET, Gm4: Palat deflects go-ahead PPG past Mrazek

What this means for Red Wings: Detroit failed to defend home ice and now sits one loss from being eliminated in the first round for the fourth time in five years. You never know, but the Red Wings might even have played their last playoff game at the Joe. If they don't win Game 5 and their playoff streak ends next season, that's it. They move into a new arena in 2017-18.

What this means for Lightning: Tampa Bay needs one win to eliminate Detroit in the first round for the second straight year and to advance for the fourth time in five playoff series. The Lightning return home, where they will have the last change and the more favorable matchups.

Video: TBL@DET, Gm4: Nyquist buries Sheahan's feed

Key moment: With the clock counting down at the end of the second period, Nyquist came out of the penalty box as Justin Abdelkader cleared the puck down the left-wing boards. Nyquist raced into the Tampa Bay zone against defenseman Jason Garrison, who sent it back up the boards. Detroit forward Riley Sheahan grabbed it away from Drouin and passed left to right. Nyquist buried it for his first goal in nine games, tying the game 2-2 with 9.3 seconds left, energizing the Joe and setting up the third.

Unsung player of the game: Drouin assisted on three-power play goals. While the Lightning struggled on the power play in the regular season, ranking 28th in the NHL, Drouin wasn't in the lineup for the most part. The Lightning went 1-for-14 on the power play in the first three games of this series and spent Monday working on it in practice, partly to integrate Drouin.

What's next: Game 5 is Thursday at Amalie Arena (7 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS2, SUN, FS-D). Will this be the last game in the NHL for Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk?

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