TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Nedeljkovic had half a save game in half as the defending Stanley Cup champions pressed the turbo button.
Nedeljkovic’s solid goalie kept the Detroit Red Wings competitive in Friday’s game at Amalie Arena, but for the second time this season the Tampa Bay Lightning used power play to beat the Wings , handing them a 3-1 defeat.
Nedeljkovic was pulled out with just under two minutes left for an extra striker, but Lucas Raymond was called off for hanging with 48.6 seconds left. Steven Stamkos scored into an empty net with two seconds left. Nedeljkovic finished with 35 saves. Robby Fabbri scored the goal for the Wings as they (24-25-6) fell below .500 in point percentage.
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The Bolts scored in a 15-0 shootout that marked the first half of the second period. Nedeljkovic had made three saves on a Tampa power play midway through the third period when Mikhail Sergachev scored with four seconds left on a penalty against Pius Suter. That gave the Bolts two power-play goals from three chances. When the teams met in the season opener, the Lightning went 3-for-7 on the power play coming back from a three-goal deficit.
Carter Rowney, who had scored the previous two games after returning after being sidelined for more than a month, left early after blocking a shot.
The Wings held on in the first period, killing a penalty on Fabbri and directing two shots at backup goaltender Brian Elliott on the power play three minutes later. But they were crushed in the second period, as the Bolts dominated with the puck in the Detroit zone for the first five minutes, appearing to have a power play before receiving one at 5:09, when Vladislav Namestnikov was called to stumble. . Nedeljkovic stopped four shots before one slipped into his net when Brayden Point deflected Victor Hedman’s shot from the blue line.
The Wings can thank Nedeljkovic for only needing one goal to create a draw after the halfway mark. Nedeljkovic had made 26 saves when the Wings scored. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider collected his 36th assist by shooting the puck at the net. Elliott got a piece of the puck back, but it slipped under him and got tempted into the paint. Fabbri arrived first, diving to hit it across the line for his 15th goal.
Michael Rasmussen had a scoring chance early in the first period, when he got the puck and used his long stride to get behind the Tampa defense, although Pat Maroon used that stick to try and slow Rasmussen down . Rasmussen skated to the net and went to his forehand, testing Elliott with a wrist shot. Rasmussen has seemed more comfortable with the puck this season, his confidence increasing as his skating has improved. Rasmussen, who turns 23 in April, has been third-line centered for most of the season and has played a one-off role on the power play.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Learn more about the Detroit Red Wings and join our Red Wings Bulletin. His book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Books of Triumph. Personalized copies available via his email.