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Red Wings stun Lightning with impressive 5-1 win

The Detroit Red Wings pulled off a surprising 5-1 win over the Central Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning behind a well-rounded and efficient offensive performance and strong goaltending from Thomas Greiss.

Well this was a bit of a shocker.

The Detroit Red Wings put together one of their most complete performances of the 2020-21 NHL season on Sunday afternoon in a dominant 5-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

It is Detroit’s first regular season win in Tampa Bay in more than a decade, having most recently won there on February 17, 2011. The win snaps what had been a 17-game regular season losing streak in Tampa Bay, including three games earlier this season.

The turning point on Sunday came late in the second period when the Red Wings erupted for three goals in three minutes, when Vatteri Filppula, Michael Rasmussen, and Marc Staal all beat Lightning backup goalie Christopher Gibson to help put the game out of reach.

Staal’s goal is his third of the season in 40 games. He has scored three goals just four times in the past 10 years, and only topped that number once during that stretch.

Filppula and Rasmussen scored their goals just 30 seconds apart.

That three-goal outburst came shortly after Red Wings goalie Thomas Greiss made an incredible, sprawling stick save on Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos on a three-on-one rush. At the time of that save the Red Wings were holding on to a 1-0 lead and the Lightning were beginning to push back.

Dylan Larkin also scored a power play goal for Detroit while Darren Helm added an empty-netter late in the third period.

Even though the two teams split the weekend series, it was a very impressive showing for the Red Wings against a team with obviously superior talent. They kept things close on Saturday in a 2-1 loss, and until Victor Hedman’s power play goal in the third period on Sunday had shut down the NHL’s best offense for more than four consecutive periods.

With Sunday’s loss the Lightning find themselves in their first extended slump of the season, losing four out of six games. Their playoff spot is secure, but they do find themselves in an extremely close race for the top spot in the Central Division with the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Lightning are now just 3-5-1 in games this season that are not started by Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.