TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point delivered the highlight of a game lacking in action.
Point scored a power-play goal in the third period and the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their winning streak to three games with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
Ondrej Palat also scored for Tampa Bay. Curtis McElhinney finished with 19 saves.
“It’s nice to get it, a close game and not a lot of action,’’ McElhinney said. “It was important to stay focused and make sure you’re ready to make the saves.’’
Jonathan Bernier stopped 37 shots for Detroit. Robby Fabbri scored for the Red Wings, who fell to 4-14-2 on the road.
“It’s a tough league,’’ Bernier said. “Every night is hard. I thought we played a pretty good game … we came up short.’’
Tampa Bay has won 16 consecutive regular-season games against the Red Wings, the longest winning streak in Lightning franchise history against one opponent and the third-longest in league history. Detroit last defeated Tampa Bay in the regular season on Nov. 3, 2015.
The Lightning have also won 13 consecutive home games against Detroit, a streak that dates to Feb. 17, 2011.
“For us, right now, it’s just about banking points and climbing the standings,’’ McElhinney said. “That was a huge win for us tonight.’’
Point snapped a 1-1 tie at 5:33 of the third period. He skated toward the net from the left corner and looked off Bernier before lifting a shot over the goaltender’s shoulder for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
“I had room to walk and just threw a no-look shot and it found a hole,’’ Point said.
After a scoreless first period, Tampa Bay opened the scoring at 4:10 of the second period. Palat won a faceoff back to Kevin Shattenkirk at the right point. Shattenkirk walked the blue line to the center slot and released a wrist shot that Palat deflected past Bernier.
Fabbri pulled the Red Wings even when Filip Zadina disrupted a clearing attempt by Cedric Paquette and kept the puck in the offensive zone. Filip Hronek sent a wrist shot toward the net that Fabbri deflected under the glove of McElhinney at 17:54.
“I think the competitive level was real good. The sacrifice level was real good,’’ Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’re getting a little bit better in some areas. What we can’t do is let these losses wear us down. It’s a mental test for sure but we’ve got to find a way to not worry about the last game and just worry about the game ahead of us.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay activated D Braydon Coburn off injured reserve after he missed 13 games with an undisclosed lower-body injury. … Detroit C Valtteri Filppula missed the game with an upper-body injury sustained in Saturday’s loss to the Florida Panthers. … Red Wings’ G Jonathan Bernier made his first start since leaving a game at Toronto on Dec. 21 after suffering a groin injury. … Lightning D Victor Hedman has two goals and eight points over the past three games.
Lightning: At Buffalo on Tuesday.
Red Wings: Host San Jose on Tuesday.
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