Lightning strikes as Red Wings give up ‘free goals’

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The Detroit Red Wings have nine games remaining in their regular season. Nine games in which to keep their franchise playoff streak going.

That streak sits at 24 years. But it’s in jeopardy of ending this spring. The Red Wings no longer occupy a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division. They’re also not in a Wild Card spot right now.

They were crushed 6-2 by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. They were down 2-0 before the game was even 10 minutes old and Jimmy Howard was pulled after allowing Tampa Bay’s third goal of the game less than a minute into the second period.

The loss was bad enough. The early goals? Those didn’t sit well with Detroit’s coach, either.

“I thought we came out fine, but we talked about not giving up any free chances, and we gave up free chances for two goals,” Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashilll told the Detroit Free Press.

“You can’t give up free goals like that.”

Detroit’s regulation loss combined with Philadelphia’s shootout loss on Tuesday means the Flyers are in the final Wild Card spot in the East — for now, anyway. Both teams are tied with 83 points, but the Flyers have a game in hand.