The Detroit Red Wings have struggled late in games this season, losing nine games in overtime or in a shootout. And the woes continued Thursday, losing 2-1 to Tampa Bay in a shootout.Jonas Gustavsson has been great for the Red Wings this season, posting an 8-1-2 record in wake of Jimmy Howard’s struggles between the pipes. And although Gustavsson has been playing stellar, the Red Wings have been struggling to produce points and stay out of the penalty box. While receiving one point against the Lightning on Thursday due to a lack of goal scoring, they can only be pleased with the performance of their back-up goaltender.
“I thought it was a good game,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought our team played real hard. They might have been more off the rush. We did more off the cycle and grind. Both goalies are as big as a house. There’s no room and both played really well.”
Gustavsson has a .926 SV percent and a 2.09 GAA this season, and is proud of the way that he has been playing, even in games that the Red Wings fall short to their opponents.
“I felt good about my game tonight,” Gustavsson said. “The goal, maybe I could have tried to be more aggressive there, but I didn’t really see the shot.”
In seasons past, the Tampa Bay Lightning has not been a threat of this caliber. Currently, the Lightning squad is sitting at third overall in the Eastern Conference. Even with a leader like Steven Stamkos out, who has been on IR since early November, the team is still aspiring for their goal that they set at the beginning of the season–to make the playoffs.
“Our goal from day one is we want to make the playoffs. That’s it. That’s all we want to do,” Cooper said. “We want to get to the tournament. You can’t win the big silver cup unless you get to the tournament. But you have to keep accumulating points.”
Points in the NHL are hard to come by, and a coach of Mike Babcock’s caliber knows what it takes to get those points.
“We’ve got to find a way to score a goal for our goalie,” Babcock said. “Our goalie can’t shut them all out. Guys that have scored fairly easily before, their attempts look like they’re tight, too. We’ve got to change that, too.”
The team has been struggling in producing points, with a mere 89 GF this season. For the first time in multiple seasons, they have more goals against then goals for, with 94 GA. The team has still been able to keep a top-seeded position, sitting at sixth in the Eastern Conference.
The Detroit Red Wings and with their injured, fundamentally shaky team will take on the Pittsburg Penguins, number one team in the east led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, at the Joe on Saturday, December 14.
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Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.
For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports
Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports.
DET – 15:04 – K. Quincey (Wrist) G. Nyquist, B. Smith
TBL – 19:16 – N. Kucherov (Wrist) J.T. Brown
No scoring recorded.
No scoring recorded.
TBL – T. Purcell/DET – P. Datsyuk
TBL – N. Kucherov/ DET – D. Alfredsson
TBL – V. Filpulla/DET – T. Tatar
TBL – M. Carle/DET – T. Bertuzzi
TBL – T. Johnson/DET – G. Nyquist
TBL – M. St. Louis/DET – J. Franzen
First: Ben Bishop
(29SA, 1GA, .966SV%, 20-21EV, 7-7PP, 1-1SH
Second: Jonas Gustavsson
(27SA, 1GA, .963SV%, 21-22EV, 4-4 PP, 1-1SH)
Third: Nitkita Kucherov
(1G, +1, 4 shots, 1 hit, 14:47 TOI)