DETROIT — The right leg injury C Steven Stamkos suffered Tuesday put a damper on the Lightning's 4-3 win over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
But, other than Stamkos' unknown status, Tampa Bay has to feel pretty good about the start of its five-game road trip, having swept back-to-back games with the Islanders and Detroit. Tampa Bay (10-6-1) has won two straight for just the third time this season.
"We find a way to win in the end," G Ben Bishop said. "That's all you can ask for."
It wasn't easy, Tampa Bay blowing a two-goal, first-period lead and the Red Wings tying it up with 12 minutes left on a power play goal by Ryan Sproul. But RW Nikita Kucherov delivered, his second goal of the game with just more than a minute left, sealing this one.
"It was huge," Kucherov said.
Kucherov and Stamkos had given the Lightning a 2-0 first-period lead, the linemates among the league's top scorers. But the Red Wings would battle back in a physical game, with C Cedric Paquette and D Braydon Coburn both leaving temporarily with injuries. But Tampa Bay held on.
"It says a lot about the character of this group," D Victor Hedman said. "We didn't quit."
GRIND LINE: The Lightning's fourth line of Brian Boyle-Paquette-J.T. Brown continues to provide a spark. Brown scored the game's first goal in Monday's 4-0 victory against the Islanders, a breakaway set up by hustle from Paquette. Brown set the tone with a clean hit on Islanders captain John Tavares, and held his own with an ensuing fight with 6-foot-4 Scott Mayfield.
"When things haven't been going well, more often than not you look to that line and they get the engine started," coach Jon Cooper said. "And (Brown) has been a big part of that."
NUTS AND BOLTS: D Anton Stralman (upper body) missed his second straight game, RW Jonathan Drouin (upper body) his seventh against the Red Wings.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 7 (Namestnikov, Nesterov), 3:30. 2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 9 (Kucherov, Hedman), 6:09. 3, Detroit, Nielsen 3 (Glendening), 18:41. Penalties—Koekkoek, TB, (interference), 7:36.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Smith, DET, (tripping), 6:28; Green, DET, (delay of game), 8:09; Boyle, TB, served by Point, (instigator), 13:34; Boyle, TB, Major (fighting), 13:34; Ott, DET, Major (fighting), 13:34; Boyle, TB, Misconduct (misconduct), 13:34; Abdelkader, DET, (roughing), 20:00.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, Nesterov 1 (Namestnikov, Filppula), 1:29 (pp). 5, Detroit, Sproul 1 (Nyquist, Green), 7:12 (pp). 6, Detroit, Zetterberg 3 (Sproul, Mantha), 9:38 (pp). 7, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 8 (Coburn, Johnson), 18:50. Penalties—Point, TB, (hooking), 7:06; Abdelkader, DET, (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:01; Hedman, TB, (interference), 8:01; Johnson, TB, (tripping), 8:28. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 11-5-6—22. Detroit 9-8-11—28. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 3; Detroit 2 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 6-5-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Detroit, Mrazek 4-5-1 (22-18). A—20,027 (20,066). T—2:33. Referees—Dan O'Rourke, Garrett Rank. Linesmen—Scott Cherrey, Scott Driscoll.