DETROIT — Apparently all Tampa Bay needed to enjoy success against Detroit was to put the teams in the same division.
Heading into this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning had five victories all-time against the Red Wings, and only one at Joe Louis Arena.
After Sunday’s 3-0 victory for Tampa Bay, the Lightning improved to 3-0 this season against Detroit, including 2-0 at the Joe, as the two now play in the Atlantic Division.
Ben Bishop finished with 28 saves for his third shutout of the season and sixth of his career. Tyler Johnson and J.T. Brown scored for the Lightning, which snapped an 0-5-2 stretch on the road. Alex Killorn added an empty net goal with 1:15 left.
The Lightning have two victories against the Red Wings in four days after two wins against Detroit in the previous 10 years to improve to 8-24-3 all-time against the Red Wings.
“I don’t know if you can look at old stats, they can be pretty worthless,’’ said Bishop, who has allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his past eight starts. “We have a new team, a new coach and a bunch of new guys here, so you throw that out the window.”
? We’ve played fairly well against them, I think, and the guys played well in front of me again tonight.’’ ? With weary legs on both sides after both teams played less than 24 hours the previous night, it was the Lightning who came out with some energy and jump, pushing the pace in the first period, though they caught a break when an apparent Gustav Nyquist goal was waved off at 2:02 when official Paul Devorski blew the play dead.
? “I think I had it covered, he poked it free after I had it, but I’m pretty sure I had it covered,’’ Bishop said. ? Richard Panik had the best chance of the first period, sitting on the right wing side as Nikita Kucherov dangled into the zone before sending a pass over to Panik. But Petr Mrazek came up with a save to keep it scoreless at 17:34 of the period.
The second period proved to be a parade to the penalty box as teams combined for five penalties in the first half of the period. But not even special teams play was enough to break the scoreless affair as Tampa Bay failed to generate a shot on goal during two abbreviated power-play chances, which included a 22-second 5-on-3.
The Lightning were credited with just three shots in the second period, and didn’t have their first until 10:09 of the period, on a third power-play chance of the period.
With Tampa Bay held off the scoreboard through two periods, it marked six consecutive periods the Lightning had gone without a goal.
“It was one of those games where we went into the room, it’s 0-0 and there are two points on the table,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We said to just turn it into a 20-minute game, with a day off on (Monday), so there is no reason we can’t leave this on the table. You didn’t have be a brain surgeon to say that whoever gets the first goal here is going to have a really good chance to win this game.’’
Tampa Bay was able to come up with that first goal when Johnson scored at 3:13 of the period, after he forced Tomas Tatar to turn the puck over high in the zone. Ondrej Palat collected the puck, swung around the left circle, where he tried to feed Marty St. Louis in the slot. St. Louis fanned on his shot attempt, and the puck carried over to Johnson, who pushed it into the open net for his eighth goal of the season. That ended the Lightning goal-less drought at 123 minutes, 57 seconds.
Tampa Bay took a two-goal lead at 9:16 when Nate Thompson collected a puck along the boards and sent a cross-crease pass right onto the stick of Brown, who charging the net at 9:16. The goal was the second of the season for Brown, who snapped a 12-game goal scoring drought.
“That felt good to know that some of the hard work is paying off,’’ Brown said. “But that’s what you have to do, get yourself into the right positions to get the puck.’’
Killorn would seal the victory when he was awarded a goal after being hooked with the net empty in front of him.