TAMPA, Florida -- The Tampa Bay Lightning won 3-2 over the Detroit Red Wings during an extremely physical Game 1 battle in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal of the 2016 National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nikita Kucherov got the scoring started just 6:23 into the first period for the Lightning. Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn set up the slap shot goal that beat Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard high on the glove side from the top of the right face-off circle.
The Red Wings got the goal back as Mike Green scored from the point with 17:49 left in the second period off passes from Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar.
About two minutes after the goal from Green, Detroit added another goal. Kyle Quincey fired a shot from just inside the blue line and it was tipped in by Justin Abdelkader for a 2-1 lead.
Believe it or not, Kucherov scored his second goal of the game to tie the contest with 13:26 left in the third period for Tampa Bay, 2-2. Kucherov had two Red Wings players in front of him, but nobody picked up the right wing attacker. The 22-year-old had no problem finishing past Howard after the Red Wings left him unattended on the right goal post.
With 8:18 left in the second period, Killorn leveled out Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin in front of Detroit's net. The hit knocked Larkin on his back and the fighting began. Larkin, Darren Helm, DeKeyser were charged with penalties for the Red Wings, while Killorn and Braydon Coburn went to the penalty box for the Lightning.
Andreas Anthanasiou was absolutely robbed by Bishop, who made a beautiful save with his right pad, early in the third period. Jonathan Drouin went to the box for cross checking Anthanasiou after his shot was saved by Bishop. It was the fifth power play of the game for the Red Wings, but the team could not capitalize.
The Lightning scooped up the puck, after Pavel Datsyuk was knock down in front of Detroit's net, and went the other way for a 4-on-2 situation. Victor Hedman's slap shot from the high slot flew past Howard into the net, but the Red Wings challenged the goal and won as Drouin was ruled offside.
Just as one goal was ruled no good, another goal was ruled good and did not get overturned. Killorn redirected a pass from Tyler Johnson, who stole the puck from Darren Helm in the corner, into the net with 11:08 left in regulation. The goal gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 edge over Detroit.
Anger was shown by Abdelkader with 8:18 left in the game as the left wing leveled out Drouin. The crazy hit that put Drouin into the Tampa Bay bench sent Abdelkader to the penalty box for two minutes for interference. Moments after getting out of the box, Abdelkader produced another huge hit.
Howard raced off the ice with 1:29 left in regulation and the Red Wings went with an empty net down by one goal against the Lightning to try for a comeback. As Howard took to the bench, Detroit picked up an extra attacker.
Tampa Bay got a few huge saves from Bishop down the stretch and were able to hold on for a 3-2 victory over Detroit in Game 1 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Red Wings and Lightning will go back at it on Friday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The game, played at 7:00 PM ET, will be Game 2 of the best-of-seven series. Howard is projected to start in net for Detroit, while Bishop will be between the pipes for Tampa Bay.