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Trending: Thomas Vanek, rivalry night, too many men

Vanek nets two but penalties cost Wings against division rival Lightning

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TAMPA - The Wings began the game exactly how they wanted to, pressuring the Tampa Bay Lightning and getting the early 2-0 lead after one period.

The Wings managed to carry a 3-2 lead into the third period.

But the Lightning are a very good team, particularly at home against the Wings, and rallied for a 6-4 victory in the season opener for both teams.

1. Thomas Vanek : Vanek came into the game as the highest-scoring Wing against the Lightning and that trend continued. The Wings got the first power play of the game when Braydon Coburn was called for holding. Vanek went to the front of the net and sent the rebound past Ben Bishop. On his second goal, Gustav Nyquist backhanded the puck to Vanek at the net. For his career, Vanek has 27 goals and 18 assists in 41 games against the Lightning.

Quotable: "He's a good player. He's been around for a long time. He knows how to score. He knows where to be on the ice and we saw that tonight. Two nice goals." - captain Henrik Zetterberg

2. Rivalry night: It was not Wednesday night on NBC Sports but there's no doubt that the Wings and Lightning have forged a new rivalry in the Atlantic Division. It's not like the vicious one from the mid to late 1990s that they had with the Colorado Avalanche but it's spirited, to say the least. At 14:30 of the second period, Steve Ott went after Jonathan Drouin and then was tackled by Braydon Coburn. At the same time, Brendan Smith fought Andrej Sustr. In the third, Ondrej Palat hit Xavier Ouellet then Jonathan Ericsson, who then fought Palat. 

Quotable: "I watch hockey so I know what (the rivalry's) all about. Obviously that's a skilled team so we know they're going to make a push and they did a push and again, I think the biggest thing is we got to stay out of the box. This is to me again, the most skilled team in the league and we gave them opportunities like we did, it's not good." - Vanek

3. Too many men: Although it is the first game of the regular season, having two too many men on the ice penalties is not what the Wings need, especially against a talented offensive team like the Lightning. Both happened in the third period and the Lightning scored on both, power-play goals by Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.

Quotable: "They were two totally separate incidents of how it happened. One we just changed for the wrong guy. Ultimately, that responsibility starts with me. It's inexcusable for me, it's inexcusable for our players. We got to know who we're changing for. We did know who were changing for, we just missed the assignment there. The second one, our guy's coming off, he gets hit, he's just got to keep coming to the bench, because they were anticipating a change. Any way or shape, it's not good enough." - Blashill

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