Kucherov, Drouin push Red Wings to brink of elimination


Who knows what’s going to happen with Jonathan Drouin this summer, but for now he’s helping the Tampa Bay Lightning succeed in the playoffs despite the absence of Steven Stamkos.

Drouin was involved in all of the Lightning’s goals tonight – picking up an assist in each of them – as Tampa Bay earned a 3-2 victory over Detroit to take a 3-1 series lead. The 21-year-old forward was especially helpful in Tampa Bay’s second and third goals.

Nikita Kucherov, 22, played a major role as well for Tampa Bay with two goals. He now has five goals and seven points in four playoff contests. Ondrej Palat netted the game-winning goal after being scoreless in the first three games.

Detroit’s Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist each found the back of the net for the first time in this series. Dylan Larkin nearly netted the goal that would have tied this game at 3-3, but it was not to be.

The Red Wings only have one day to rest and regroup before they have to play in a must-win game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Thursday. If the Red Wings fall short in that contest, then they will exit in the first round for the third straight year.