Red Wings eye win in home opener vs. Lightning

Jonas Johansson passed his first test as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 goalie. Johansson and the Lightning will now try to grab a road victory in the Detroit Red Wings’ home opener on Saturday.

Johansson was thrust into the role when Andrei Vasilevskiy underwent back surgery during training camp. Tampa Bay defeated Nashville in its home opener 5-3 on Tuesday as Johansson stopped 28 shots.

“His game was quiet and he made himself big. He wasn’t erratic,” head coach John Cooper said. “He just played positional goal and when the heat got turned up, his heart rate didn’t go up. You kind of want to see that in your goaltender.”

Johansson appeared in 35 games over the past four seasons with Buffalo, Florida and Colorado. He signed a two-year contract with the Lightning during the offseason to provide depth behind Vasilevsky.

Nick Paul got off to a strong start offensively with two goals and an assist. Paul got both his goals on third-period power plays, scrapping for loose pucks and rebounds.

Paul isn’t known for his scoring prowess. His 17-goal output last season was the highest of his career.

“When you’re with good players, you just try to get them the puck,” Paul said. “And then my job is just stay in there, take the goalie away and then the trash in front, put it in. Just got to keep it going and build confidence.”

The Lightning and Red Wings split their four-game series last season.

Detroit dropped its season opener on the road to New Jersey 4-3 on Thursday.

Alex DeBrincat, the Wings’ most significant offseason acquisition, tied the game at 2-2 midway through the third period. The Devils regained the lead five minutes later on Dougie Hamilton’s shot from the point and hung on.

“This one will sting,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “We probably out-chanced them and accumulated a lot of chances. For the most part, those underlying numbers on the road will say we should have had a point but we didn’t.”

The first period ended up scoreless despite the Wings holding a 14-6 advantage in shots on goal. Another Wings newcomer, Daniel Sprong, gave them a 1-0 lead midway through the second period but New Jersey’s Jack Hughes answered with a pair of goals.

“We had a great start. I think if we play like that consistently, we are going to be in a good spot,” said Wings captain Dylan Larkin, who assisted on DeBrincat’s power-play goal. “The biggest thing is, we didn’t capitalize on some really good chances in the first period, really all game. We scored three, but our finishing wasn’t there. I’m not worried about that. We have a lot of goal scorers in here.”

DeBrincat, a Michigan native, will be wearing the Red Wings uniform in the club’s home arena for the first time. He was acquired in trade with Ottawa, then signed a four-year extension.

Detroit lacked the scoring punch to seriously challenge for a playoff spot last season, and DeBrincat is one of five offseason acquisitions skating on the Wings’ four lines.

“The big thing for us is just to turn these games into a win,” goaltender Ville Husso said. “We are still learning, and we just have to take the positive out of it.”

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