DETROIT - The Red Wings got the start they wanted but in the end, the Tampa Bay Lightning prevailed.
Nikita Kucherov, who has scored in every game this season, had two goals, one on the power play, and Tyler Johnson one, a shorthanded tally, as the Lightning won the special teams battle for a 3-2 victory at Little Caesars Arena Monday night.
The Wings, who were 0-for-6 on the power play, fell to 0-7-1 in their last eight games against the Lightning.
1. First penalty shot goal: It was an eventful point of the game for the Red Wings. Justin Abdelkader hopped out of the box and drove to the net. Andrei Vasilevskiy made the save but Abdelkader crashed into him, leaving an open net for Darren Helm, who buried the rebound. The Lightning challenged the goal because of goaltender interference, which was upheld. But Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was called for hooking Abdelkader on the breakaway, giving Abdelkader a penalty shot. Abdelkader came in and calmly buried it, cutting the Tampa Bay lead to 2-1 at 2:30 of the second. It was the first penalty shot at Little Caesars Arena and the Wings' first successful penalty shot since Valtteri Filppula scored on one on Dec. 15, 2007.
Quotable: "I didn't really think too much about it. A lot of times I'm nervous for those but actually I was excited, I was ready, I had some time to prepare and think about it on the bench while they were sorting out the call. Those are always fun if you can convert. I think we started going. Sometimes a momentum shift like that can get your team going. If we can get that third goal, maybe it's a different game. The game was right there. We even had a chance at the end to tie it. It's a one game at a time mentality. We got to come to work tomorrow and get ready for Toronto on Wednesday." - Abdelkader
2. Mike Green : Mike Green came into the game leading the Wings in points with eight, all assists. During a television timeout, the scoreboard showed the players all voting on which teammate has the best hair. The majority of the Wings voted for Green. After the timeout, the Wings came into the offensive zone and Green scored on a rebound of his own shot while Abdelkader stood in front of Vasilevskiy. Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar picked up the assists. Green leads all defensemen in points and is fourth overall in the league. Green and Gustav Nyquist led Detroit with six shots apiece.
Quotable: "That was nice. Obviously that was a big goal for us. We felt though that we played pretty good and we knew we were going to get enough chances to win the game. But they scored three and we only got two." - Zetterberg
3. Wings killers: The Lighting have several players who have had success against the Wings but none more so than Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. Despite the Wings spending most of the first part of the first period in the Tampa Bay zone, Johnson broke free during Detroit's power play and beat Jimmy Howard at 9:15 for a 1-0 lead. Kucherov scored on the Lightning's power play at 10:56 with a wicked shot from the right circle that found the top of the net. Then Kucherov poked the game-winner past Howard at 1:47 of the third on a rebound. In 17 career regular-season games against the Wings, Johnson has five goals and eight assists. In 16 games against the Wings, Kucherov has nine goals and five assists. You can add Steven Stamkos to the list as well. Stamkos assisted on both Kucherov goals and has eight goals and six assists in 17 games against Detroit.
Quotable: "He's right up there. He's one of the best players in the league, no question. He gets them out on the ice in a lot of different situations and he's got lots of poise, a great stick and an excellent mind. He's certainly one of the better players in the league." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
Quotable II: "It's always tough to play against them. They're a good team and they play really tight. There's not much space on the ice. You have to kind of grind it off and play the right way. Stay above every little thing. Sometimes you just wait for mistakes and when they happen, you use them." - Kucherov