Frans Nielsen’s Hat Trick not enough for the Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: Frans Nielsen #51 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his second period goal, third of the game, while playing the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on December 04, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: Frans Nielsen #51 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his second period goal, third of the game, while playing the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on December 04, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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We have a Frans Nielsen sighting!  The Detroit Red Wings forward busted open tonight with a hat-trick, but it was not enough.

The high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning arrived in Motown to take on the Wings tonight.  The game had a lot of potential to be an ugly one for the Wings.  The team had to try to corral the high-flying Bolts without Tyler Bertuzzi or Anthony Mantha.  It wasn’t to be tonight; the Detroit Red Wings squandered a 5-3 lead to lose in the shootout for a final score of 6-5.  It is the 13th consecutive Lightning win over the Wings.

Insert Frans Nielsen. It took Nielsen quite some time to get going, but he delivers in a big way tonight notching his second career hat-trick.  He now has 4 goals over his last 3 games.  The offense is a much-needed boost with Mantha expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Gustav Nyquist opened the scoring for the Detroit Red Wings skating on his new line.  Dylan Larkin was able to bounce a puck from behind the goal out to Gus waiting alone below the circle near the hash marks.  Gus delivered a snipe-quest type shot that found the twine.  A beautiful top-cheese goal.

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Only 21 seconds later Neilsen bangs in the first of his three on the night to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-0 lead.  It all seemed to be going great until Mathieu Joseph came streaking off of the left-wing chasing a loose puck.  Howard started to come out of the net but realized he wouldn’t beat the speedy Joespeh to the puck.  Joseph was able to elevate the puck with one hand on his stick over the shoulder of Jimmy Howard as he was reaching on his failed poke-check attempt.

Joseph wouldn’t be finished and would become a severe headache for Jimmy Howard.  Howard left his net to play the dump in from the Bolts behind his goal.  He made a no-look, ill-advised pass behind the back that appeared to go off of Mike Green who was being checked at the time, right to Joseph who buried it into the empty net, notching his second of the night.

Steven Stamkos was able to strike for the Bolts during the second period.  The long change during the second period provides offensive opportunities, and that’s precisely what Stammer received.  He hopped onto the ice and noticed Jonathan Ericsson was not paying any attention to him.  He took the breakaway pass in all alone on Howard and rifled a beauty past him.

Gustav Nyquist would notch his second goal of the game during the third period which at the time put the Detroit Red Wings up by a pair, making it 5-3.  It wouldn’t take long, and J.T Miller rifled a shot from the right circle that deflected off of the shaft of Luke Glendening‘s stick.  The puck redirected over the blocker of Howard and into the goal.

Tampa would later net a short-handed goal scored by Cedric Paquette.  The Wings elected to run Martin Frk at the point and four forwards on the PP with around 5:00 to go in the third and it cost the Wings.  At that point in the game only up by a goal, Detroit should have elected to run two defensemen at the point choosing a safer route.

Jimmy Howard played exceptionally well even though he had a couple of miscues.  The Lightning had numerous opportunities to overtake the Detroit Red Wings with all of their firepower, but Jimmy stood as tall as you could for a guy giving up 5 goals.  He was under siege often and totaled 30 saves.

Dylan Larkin was really flying, it is as if he knows he needs to shoulder more of the offense now with Bert and Mantha out.  He looked terrific early on, he had a couple of take-a-ways in his own end and transitioned them into scoring chances into the offensive zone.  Although he was unable to score Larkin added a pair of helpers.  Double-A also added a pair of assists.

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Notes: Danny DeKesyer took a Steven Stamkos shot off of the wrist and did not return to the game.  He blocked the shot while killing a penalty; the one-timer struck DeKeyser on the wrist above the cuff of the glove.  He was thriving in pain and still chipped the puck to the corner away from Stammer with his other hand on his stick.