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game recap

Lightning one point out of wild card with OT win

Move closer to Bruins, Islanders for playoff spot in East after defeating Red Wings

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

DETROIT -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are one point out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot after a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.

Nikita Kucherov scored with 1:32 left in overtime for Tampa Bay (36-29-9), which trails the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

"It's so much on the line, it's almost like you're in the playoffs already," Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said. "It really is. You can see the fire in everybody and the hunger, everybody pulling the same way. It's quite a beautiful thing."

The Lightning had lost three games in a row at home before traveling to Boston and Detroit. They trailed by one goal three times before defeating the Bruins 6-3 on Thursday and trailed 1-0 in the third period against the Red Wings.


WATCH: All Lightning vs. Red Wings highlights


"You sit here and say every game's a must-win, but let's be honest: We don't come out with four points in this, we're in trouble," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Henrik Zetterberg scored 8:03 into the second period for the Red Wings (29-32-12), who are 15th in the Eastern Conference after making the playoffs for 25 straight seasons.

Video: TBL@DET: Zetterberg tallies with fluttering shot

Ondrej Palat tied it 1-1 5:53 into the third period, batting in a rebound after goaltender Petr Mrazek failed to glove a point shot by Kucherov and lost track of the puck.

The Lightning and Bruins each have eight games left. The Islanders, who host the Bruins on Saturday, have one game in hand.

Video: TBL@DET: Palat finds a rebound, slams puck home

"You've just got to sit there and say, 'The only destiny you can control is your own,'" Cooper said. "And that was the big conversation going into the third period.

"'What are we going to do here?' The guys just talked about what needed to be done to win a hockey game, and they found a way."

Goal of the game

Kucherov won the game by redirecting a pass from center Brayden Point for his 38th goal of the season.

"Found me backdoor," Kucherov said. "It was nice to finish that one. Every game is huge for us right now. Just got to take one game and a time and see what's going to happen."

Video: TBL@DET: Kucherov tips Point's feed in for OT win

Save of the game

Mrazek used his blocker to stop Lightning center Gabriel Dumont from the right circle with about 3:30 left in the third period.

Video: TBL@DET: Mrazek extends right arm to rob Dumont

Highlight of the game

Mrazek used his blocker to stop center Yanni Gourde on a breakaway about 11:00 into the second period.

Video: TBL@DET: Mrazek stones Gourde with great blocker save

Unsung performance of the game

Detroit went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Late in the third period, Gourde had a chance at the right side of the net with Mrazek out of position. Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser tied up his stick so he couldn't shoot.


They said it

"Not good enough, especially against a team playing a back-to-back. We've got to start off stronger. But I thought we got better as the game went. Obviously it was unfortunate we couldn't get a power-play goal. That could be the difference in a game like tonight." -- Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader


"He got the big one tonight, but I thought he passed up a couple really good looks where he can score. When [Kucherov] is getting in that 3-6-shot-a-night range, pucks go in for guys like him." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

Need to know

Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison (lower body) didn't play and is day to day after being injured Thursday. Luke Witkowski moved from wing to defense. Center Greg McKegg entered the lineup. ... Kucherov is second in goals behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (42). Kucherov is the first Lightning player to have four consecutive multipoint games since Martin St. Louis (Jan. 20-31, 2012), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Red Wings center Darren Helm (leg) didn't play for the third straight game but might return against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. ... Zetterberg scored his 325th NHL goal, moving him past Norm Ullman for sixth in Red Wings history. He trails Gordie Howe (786), Steve Yzerman (692), Alex Delvecchio (456), Sergei Fedorov (400) and Ted Lindsay (335).

What's next

Lightning: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: Host the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV)


Video: Vasilevskiy, Kucherov lead Lightning to 2-1 win in OT

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