DETROIT — The Lightning players were tired, and upset, too, having not played their best in the second period Sunday against the Red Wings.
They had reason to be weary, having arrived at their downtown hotel at 4 a.m. — 13 hours before faceoff — due to a lengthy delay at a New Jersey airport after Saturday night's loss to the Devils.
Tampa Bay hadn't won a road game since Nov. 21 in Montreal, hadn't scored in more than 100 minutes. But at the second intermission of a scoreless game Sunday, it challenged itself to make a change. "Win a period, win a game," wing J.T. Brown said.
The Lightning did just that, racking up three third-period goals to beat Detroit 3-0 at Joe Louis Arena, snapping its seven-game road winless streak and continuing its reversal of fortune against the Red Wings. Tampa Bay (19-11-3) entered the season with just five wins against Detroit, including one at Joe Louis. But it has won all three meetings this season, two in the past four days.
"I don't think you can look at old stats. They're pretty worthless," said goalie Ben Bishop, who had 28 saves for his second shutout of the season. "We've got a new team, new coach, bunch of new guys. So throw those (records) out the window. We've played fairly well against (Detroit)."
Bishop was a big reason why Sunday, continuing his impressive play as the No. 1 goalie (16-5-2 record) with several big saves. "He's getting an opportunity here to have the ball," captain Marty. St. Louis said. "And he's running with it."
The Lightning appeared to catch a break two minutes into the game. Detroit wing Gustav Nyquist, in the crease, knocked his own rebound into the goal. But it was waved off, officials saying the whistle was blown first.
"I think I had (the puck) covered," Bishop said. "(Nyquist) poked it loose after (the referee) blew the whistle."
Coach Jon Cooper figured the first goal would win the game, and it did. Tampa Bay finally got it, snapping a 120-minute scoreless drought three minutes into the third. Ondrej Palat picked up a loose puck off a Detroit turnover at the blue line and sent a pass over the middle to St. Louis, who fanned on his shot attempt, but the puck went right to Tyler Johnson, who put it in.
Brown added a goal midway through, and Alex Killorn got an empty-netter.
The Lightning then headed for a flight to Long Island, ready for a much-needed off-day before Tuesday's game against the Islanders.
"We're on a little skid on the road, and if you want to put yourself in a position to make the playoffs, you have to win on the road," Cooper said. "Clearly this is a big step."
Second—None. Penalties—Johnson, TB (hooking), 2:05; Franzen, Det (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:35; Det bench, served by Nyquist (too many men), 6:13; Johnson, TB (high-stick), 6:51; Quincey, Det (tripping), 9:41.
Third—1, TB, Johnson 8 (St. Louis, Palat), 3:13. 2, TB, Brown 2 (Thompson), 9:16. 3, TB, Killorn 7 (Filppula, Brewer), 18:45 (en). Penalties—Palat, TB (hooking), 12:17. Shots on Goal—TB 10-3-13—26. Det 6-13-9—28. Power-play opportunities—TB 0 of 3; Det 0 of 3. Goalies—TB, Bishop 17-5-2 (28 shots-28 saves). Det, Mrazek 1-1-0 (26-24).