Tampa Bay Lightning Force Game 7 As They Dismantle Detroit

Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning came out with a purpose tonight in Detroit as the Bolts force Game 7 on Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena after dismantling the Detroit Red Wings.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had their backs against the wall as they took the ice at the Joe Louis Arena tonight in Detroit. If they won, the series would head home for one final encounter. Lose, and their post season journey would come to an end. Thankfully, the Bolts weren’t ready to hit the links just yet.

Despite an abundant amount of adversity tonight, which included at least two incredibly dangerous hits, the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to dismantle the Detroit Red Wings and send the series to Game 7 at the Amalie Arena on Wednesday night.

The one thing that the Tampa Bay Lightning has been struggling with as of late has been putting the puck in the back of the net. When the Lightning took the ice at the Joe Louis Arena tonight, they knew that had to change. This is why it came as no surprise that the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice with purpose.

It was around 3:47 in the first period when the Tampa Bay Lightning would make their move. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would usher the puck to Nikita Kucherov who would send the puck sailing to who else…Tyler Johnson. As you can imagine, Johnson quickly finds the back of the net to give the Bolts the early lead.

Just after the halfway point in the period, the Detroit crowd goes absolutely insane after Justin Abdelkader lays a huge hit on Cedric Paquette. One of the highlights of the night for Lightning fans is the silence that fell over the Joe Louis Arena as Jason Garrison sunk the puck into the back of the net to give the Lightning a two goal lead.

We don’t think we have to explain the complete and total irony in this one. Just in case we do, here is a look at what we are making reference to.

In the first period, the Lightning proved the importance of quality over quantity. The Lightning was outshot by the Red Wings 9-7, but the Lightning was up on the Red Wings 2-0. This means that the Lightning found the back of the net for every 3.5 Shots on Goal.

The kind of pressure that the Lightning put on the Red Wings in the first period is the kind of pressure that Lightning fans want to see all 60 minutes. This is the kind of play that will bring this series back to Tampa.

In the early moments of the second period, it looked as if Brian Boyle had given the Lightning a three-goal lead, but Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek made one of the most amazing stick saves we have ever seen in our lives. We generally hate praising the other team, but everyone eventually has to pay the devil his due.

It wouldn’t be long until Detroit crossed a line that you should never cross. After Steven Stamkos fails to bury the puck in front of the Red Wings net, a little bit of pushing and shoving ensues. Then things escalated to a whole new level.

Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson grabs Tyler Johnson by the back of the head, drags Johnson over to the boards and proceeds to slam his head into the glass. As you can imagine, the Lightning didn’t take too kindly to a blatant cheap shot like that and a brawl ensued in behind the net.

We are all about pushing and shoving and the occasional fight, but something like this is absolutely uncalled for and could have caused some serious injury to Johnson. Thankfully, there was no apparent injury on the play. Ericsson was assessed two minor penalties for Roughing while Johnson was sent to the box for Roughing and Stamkos was sent to the box for Slashing.

Judging by the looks of things and by the sheer amount of penalties that took place in the second period, this was the turning point when the referees began to lose control of this game. Over the course of the second period, there would be 18 minutes in penalties called; 8 to the Red Wings and 10 to the Lightning.

At 12:26 in the second, the Red Wings would finally get on the board with a goal from left wing Tomas Tatar with assist from Niklas Kronwall.

Just when you thought that things couldn’t possibly get any more out of control, the Red Wings go and prove that there are no bounds to their goonery. In the final moments of the second period, Nikita Kucherov is attempting to play the puck when Niklas Kronwall leaps into the air and blatantly targets the head of Kucherov sending him flying to the ground.

Adding insult to injury, the Detroit Red Wings found it appropriate to use the hashtag #Kronwalled on the hit. It’s always nice to know that an organization fully supports that kind of blatantly illegal and incredibly dangerous play on the ice. Make note, Bolts fans…#Kronwalled really means #DirtyHit.

When the third period kicked off, the Red Wings used their unchecked hit by Kronwall is fuel for their momentum as they narrow the Lightning’s lead to one with another goal by Tomas Tatar. This time, the assist on the goal would go to Pavel Datsyuk.

This was the point in the game when everyone in the Bolts Nation scooted forward about three inches and sat on the edge of their seats. This is pretty much where they would remain until the final buzzer sounded.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to be getting complacent in the later moments of the third period, but it was a goal by Alex Killorn that would not only give the Tampa Bay Lightning a two-goal lead, but would light the spark that the Lightning would need to get back into the game.

But wait…the game doesn’t end there. After Braydon Coburn is sent to the box for two minutes for cross-checking Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be forced to finish the game on the penalty kill. The Lightning had to overcome seven penalty kills tonight, only faltering on one of them.

There is under a minute left in the game, the game that determines the fate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cedric Paquette sends the puck sailing down the ice where is finds the empty net giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a three-goal lead sending this series back to the Amalie Arena for Game 7.

The Tampa Bay Lightning came into this game knowing that their fate was in their hands. The only thing they needed was to ensure the execution was flawless. While the game was far from flawless, the Bolts got the job done when it mattered the most.

Now, there is just one thing standing between our Boys in Blue and the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; Game 7 on Wednesday night back here in Hockey Paradise. We don’t know about you, but we are ready to absolutely blow the roof off of the Amalie Arena and show the Lightning that their Thunder will not be silenced!

Who’s with us?