Detroit Red Wings’ newcomer Alex DeBrincat shined in his home debut, contributing two goals and an assist to secure a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
DeBrincat, who was acquired by Detroit in a trade with Ottawa in July, had already scored in the Red Wings’ season-opening loss to New Jersey on Thursday.
“You always want to have a strong start,” DeBrincat stated. “It’s something that crosses your mind, but at the beginning of the year, you just focus on doing the little things right and hope that luck is on your side.”
Having previously scored 41 goals in two different seasons for Chicago and 27 goals and 39 assists in his sole season with the Senators, DeBrincat aims to maintain consistency throughout the season to return to the 40-goal mark.
Joining DeBrincat and Red Wings’ captain Dylan Larkin on the top line, Lucas Raymond made an impact by contributing a goal, alongside Daniel Sprong, J.T. Compher, and Moritz Seider. Larkin also assisted two goals, and Ville Husso made 23 crucial saves.
Steven Stamkos played a remarkable game for the Lightning, scoring two goals and providing an assist. Victor Hedman added a goal and two assists, while Brandon Hagel managed a goal and an assist. Despite their efforts, poor defense and costly mistakes led to the Lightning’s defeat.
“When you give the opponent everything we gave them, it’s nearly impossible to win a hockey game,” exasperated Lightning coach John Cooper stated.
The game remained tied at 3 until Compher redirected Seider’s shot from the point, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 lead in the second period. In the third period, Larkin’s speed and puck handling created a breakaway opportunity, which he capitalized on by feeding DeBrincat for a one-timer goal.
Although Hedman reduced Detroit’s lead with a power-play goal, Seider sealed the victory with an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Detroit coach Derek Lalonde praised the team’s offense but acknowledged that uncharacteristic mistakes had provided the Lightning with easy scoring chances.
The first period ended with a 2-all tie, with the Red Wings striking first through Sprong’s tap-in goal. However, the Lightning quickly retaliated with Stamkos’ left-side shot, set up by Hedman, and Hagel’s breakaway goal. DeBrincat leveled the score with a deflected shot from the point.
Robby Fabbri from the Red Wings was absent due to an undisclosed injury, while Tyler Motte from the Lightning was placed on injured reserve due to a hand injury. Stamkos has now scored 22 goals in 40 career games against Detroit, and Christian Fischer played his 400th career game for the Red Wings. Detroit boasts a 54-32-9-2 record in home openers.
The Lightning will play the second game of a back-to-back against Ottawa on Sunday night, while the Red Wings will travel to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL
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