from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"It’s just important," coach Jeff Blashill said. "It’s way better to win — you walk in and feel way better about yourself. But there’s lots on the line for lots of people. Ultimately we want to continue to grow and you only grow by taking steps forward and the checking, the completeness of our game, we’ve got to continue to grow in that area and I certainly thought we did that."
It matters, even with just five games left, that they show growth in front of general manager Steve Yzerman, who flew Tuesday from Detroit to Tampa to watch in person. He's evaluating what changes to make when the offseason begins after the April 29th finale.
The Wings (30-37-10) showed growth during the first half, and were a game above .500 as late as Feb. 13. But as games ramped up as the playoff race intensified, the Wings wilted — they didn't defend well, and therefore struggled to score, and their goaltenders struggled. There have been brief signs of recovery, like beating Boston and winning at Winnipeg the next night, after losing six in a row, and winning last week at Carolina, and then beating the Lightning for the first time this season.
The Bolts pulled their goalie with about two minutes to play, but the Wings sacrificed to get in lanes and block shots and Thomas Greiss finished with 38 saves.
"We can take a lot of positive things out of it," Jakub Vrana said after contributing the winning goal among his pair.
Extended game highlights from last night's win in Tampa can be watched below.