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Trending: Athanasiou returns to Wings but Lightning still get the win

Special teams are Detroit's undoing in Tampa

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning's mastery of the Red Wings continues.

The Lightning got goals from their superstars and solid play from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to earn a 3-2 victory over the Wings at Tampa's Amalie Arena Thursday night.

The Lightning have won nine straight regular-season meetings between the teams and are 16-4-0 against them since the 2012-13 season.

The Wings fell to 0-5-1 in their last six games.

1. Jimmy Howard : The job of a goaltender is to give his team a chance to win the game. Howard certainly did his job Thursday night in Tampa Bay but it just wasn't enough. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos scored power-play goals, Kucherov at 16:33 of the first and Stamkos at 6:22 of the third. Kucherov has 12 goals to lead the league and has 10 goals and six assists in 17 career regular-season games against the Wings. Brayden Point scored at 17:04 of the third period. Howard finished with 35 saves.

Quotable: "He made some great saves for us. You can't say anything else about him. He played a great game." - Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg

Quotable II: "I thought Jimmy played well. I thought Jimmy kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win the hockey game. I thought he did his job." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill

2. Special teams: It was a very good start for the Wings on special teams, even though they didn't want to be in the penalty box. With Justin Abdelkader off for slashing, Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm went on a 2-on-1 and Nielsen scored from the right circle for a shorthanded goal. It is the fourth shorthanded goal for the Wings this season. But giving up two man-advantage goals to the league's best power play was not optimal. The Wings went 1-for-5 on the power play but Nielsen's power-play goal came with 1:49 left in the game and with the goaltender pulled.

Quotable: "Stupid. You put them on the power play like that. We had two great kills in the first period. We probably gained momentum from the kills because we'd done such an excellent job on it, and then we take a too many men penalty that's totally inexcusable. One hundred percent inexcusable. Know who you're changing for. Know if your guys comes off or not. That's a veteran player making that mistake. It can't happen. And then we take the slashing penalties. We have to eliminate those types of plays. I think we were self-destructive tonight." - Blashill

Quotable II: "When you take too many penalties, it's hard for the PK to keep killing. I thought they did a great job but eventually, with the skills they have and the threats, they will score." - Zetterberg

3. Andreas Athanasiou: The Wings were hoping Andreas Athanasiou could provide a spark, even though he missed all of training camp, preseason and the first 10 games due to a contract holdout. Athanasiou started on a line with Nielsen and Darren Helm. He played 18 shifts for 12:07, 2:39 on the power play. He had three shots, a hit, a blocked shot, a face-off win and finished minus-1.

Quotable: "I thought Double-A played good. I thought he had jump. He didn't get tons of minutes. It's one practice and he goes. I tried to get him out there a little more in the third. I wasn't ready to have him kill penalties yet. That's a lot to ask a guy, to go against that PP unit and kill when you haven't had any practices, zero doing it. We'll work him into that but I thought he brings an element to us for sure." - Blashill

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