Zetterberg keeps Red Wings perfect ... then preaches patience
Henrik Zetterberg doesn't want Red Wings fans to get too excited after just three games.
He understands the temptation, though.
The Detroit captain and line mates Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin dominated another game Tuesday as the Red Wings stayed perfect with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, Larkin had an assist and Abdelkader, who had four goals in Detroit's first two games, screened Ben Bishop on two of Detroit's three goals. The trio has combined for 16 points in three games.
''Right now, I'm playing well, the kid (Larkin) is playing well, and Abby is playing really well, so the line looks great,'' Zetterberg said. ''But it is only three games, so we don't want to get carried away. There's a long season left.''
Detroit is now 3-0 on the season, while the Lightning fall to 3-1. The game was also a rematch of last year's first-round playoff matchup, which Tampa Bay won in seven games.
''It might be the first week of the season, but we remember that the series in April came down to them having Game 7 in their building,'' Abdelkader said. ''This year, we know we can't give away any points.''
Jimmy Howard stopped 20 shots in the win, while Ben Bishop made 21 saves for the Lightning.
''They hit the corners and we didn't,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ''They made big-time shots, and that's what you have to do against good goalies.''
Detroit outplayed Tampa Bay for most of the first period, but Bishop made a pair of tough saves against Gustav Nyquist, the second on the period's only power play. Tampa had their first great chance with a 2-on-1 midway through the second, but Howard stopped Vladimir Namestnikov, and the defense cleared the rebound.
Abdelkader drew a roar from the crowd late in the second, leveling Alex Killorn, but Tampa Bay kept the puck in the zone, and Steven Stamkos hit the post.
Moments later, Nyquist drew a tripping penalty, and it only took 12 seconds for him to beat Bishop at 17:52 of the second period for his first goal of the season.
''I think, in a game like that, getting the first goal is huge,'' Nyquist said. ''Abby got in front of the net, and there was no way that Bishop could have seen a thing.''
Detroit killed two power plays early in the third period, preserving the lead, and Larkin's aggressive forechecking set up three scoring chances. The first two trickled wide, but Zetterberg fired Larkin's pass over Bishop's right shoulder at 8:25.
Larkin now has a goal and three assists in his first three NHL games.
''The thing with Dylan is that he works so hard every day in practice and every shift in the game,'' Zetterberg said. ''When you add that to all the skill he has, you can see what he gives us.''
Ryan Callahan made it 2-1 at 11:03, beating Howard from the high slot, and the Red Wings were lucky to clear a goal-mouth scramble seconds later.
Larkin had a chance to clinch the game in the final three minutes, but fired wide on a breakaway. Howard then kept Detroit ahead with a blocker save on Nikita Nesterov with 2:25 left.
Cooper pulled Bishop after the Red Wings iced the puck with 1:57 to play, but Detroit won the faceoff and Kyle Quincey hit the center of the net with a 185-foot shot to make it 3-1.
''They play the same way we do, so it is a grind every shift,'' said Lightning center Brian Boyle. ''They play four lines for 60 minutes, and that's what we do, so it turns into a chess match on bouncy ice.''
NOTES: Johan Franzen was a late scratch because he was not feeling well, and was replaced by Landon Ferraro. Franzen was not seriously ill, but the Red Wings are being very cautious with him due to his concussion history. . Detroit D Brendan Smith left the game in the first period after being slashed on the arm by Alex Killorn, but returned at the start of the second. . The Lightning were playing their third road game in four nights.