Paquette has 3 goals, Lightning beat Wings 5-1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Cedric Paquette is on a hot streak after a long scoring drought.
Paquette had three goals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 on Thursday night for their franchise-record ninth consecutive home win.
”I couldn’t have been happier for Ceddy Paquette,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”He was feeling it tonight. He’s earned it. That kid’s been gaming it out forever for us, trying to find his way.”
Steven Stamkos and Mark Barberio also scored for the Lightning, who leapfrogged the Red Wings into first place in the Atlantic Division by a point. Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn had two assists apiece.
Tampa Bay took a 4-1 lead at 11:03 of the second when Paquette completed his first hat trick from the right circle during a short-handed 2-on-1. The center has four goals in the past two games after going 29 straight without one.
”It feels good,” Paquette said. ”Twenty-nine games without a goal, it’s tough to accept. I kept working hard and the goal came.”
Darren Helm scored for Detroit, which had won six in a row.
”I’m not looking to blame anyone because what we do here is we win together and we lose together and we move on,” coach Mike Babcock said.
Paquette opened the scoring 2:03 into the game when he used his backhand to beat Petr Mrazek on a rebound. His right-circle goal gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead with 36.2 seconds left in the first.
Stamkos made 3-1 on his 27th goal, a power-play drive from the left circle at 4:18 of the second.
Helm tied it at 1 when he beat Ben Bishop from the slot at 11:59 of the first. Pavel Datsyuk got his 553rd assist on the play, lifting him into a tie for 100th place on the NHL’s career list with Mike Bossy and Thomas Steen.
Bishop made a glove save on Riley Sheahan’s breakaway late in the first. He finished with 27 stops while improving to 6-1-0 against the Red Wings.
”We can only cheat ourselves for so long,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. ”There’s a lot of things that need to be better. The first period was pretty good. After that, it kind of went downhill.”
Barberio stopped a 26-game goal drought, dating to March 8, late in the second.
Mrazek, filling for injured goalies Jimmy Howard (groin) and Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder), gave up five goals on 15 shots in two periods. Tom McCollum stopped all 17 shots he faced in the third.
”You’ve got to give him credit,” Babcock said of Mrazek. ”He’s a kid who’s gone 10-4-1. He’s got NHL moxie. He’s still got to work at his skill level, and he’s a pup. He’s a kid. He spent five years in the minors. That’s just the process for a goaltender.”
Howard is expected to miss at least a couple more weeks, while Gustavsson might soon be ready for a minor league rehab assignment.
NOTES: Paquette had five goals over five games before his 29-game drought. … Datsyuk tied Ted Lindsay for 11th place on the Red Wings games played list with 862. … Detroit RW Tomas Jurco returned after missing eight games with an injured back. … Red Wings D Jakub Kindl, who missed 12 games due to an elbow injury, was activated from injured reserve but was scratched.