For one night, Joe Louis belonged to a guy named Johnson.
Tyler Johnson, that is.
The Tampa Bay sophomore put on a performance of a lifetime in Thursday’s Game 4, scoring two goals — including the decisive OT tally — as the Bolts rallied from a two-goal deficit with less than six minutes remaining to stun the Red Wings.
With the win, Tampa evened the first-round series at two games a piece, and swung momentum its way.
In a major way.
For the majority of the evening, the story was Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek, who posted 100 minutes of shutout hockey stemming from his Game 4 clean sheet. Mrazek’s performance was something of a surprise, especially since Tampa Bay had the best goals per game average in the NHL over the course of the 2014-15 campaign; what’s more, the Red Wings goaltender had just 40 career games worth of NHL experience and was hooked from Game 2 after allowing four goals on 18 shots.
But Mrazek was at his finest for the majority of the evening. So too were his teammates.
Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson each scored their first goals of the series in the second period, giving Detroit what looked to be a comfortable lead. Andersson’s tally looked as though it could deflate Tampa Bay, given Bolts goalie Ben Bishop scored in his own net, but both he and Tampa Bay maintained composure and kept the deficit at two, which proved vital in the third.
Johnson started the comeback with a goal at the 14:34 mark, then set up Ondrej Palat for the equalizer just 77 seconds later. The quick turn of events stunned the Joe Louis crowd, which had all but locked in a 3-1 series lead for their Red Wings.
Wasn’t to be, though. Detroit now faces the daunting task of having to beat Tampa Bay in a best-of-three series, with two of those games scheduled to be played at Amalie Arena.