The Detroit News’s John Niyo penned a late-night-posted column discussing the Red Wings’ 7-6 OT loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning as something of a “welcome back” for fans attending the game at Little Caesars Arena, via a thrill ride of an affair, regardless of the result:
Dylan Larkin was looking to make up for lost time, and no sooner than he had, the Red Wings’ captain found himself missing even more. And just as the Red Wings were reminded how much fun it can be to play a hockey game in an arena full of fans, they were reminded how it felt on far too many nights last season.
There’s no point in belaboring that last part after a wild 7-6 overtime loss to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs Thursday night in the season opener at Little Caesars Arena.
The Wings couldn’t finish what they started against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the point their fans should take away from this — along with the one Jeff Blashill’s team earned in the NHL standings — is that things should be a bit more entertaining around here this winter.
This game had just about everything, didn’t it? A hat trick and some heated arguments. A cheap shot and a sucker punch in retaliation. Thirteen goals. Eighteen penalties. Seventy-four shots. And all of it in front of a roaring crowd at an arena that was 20 times more than anything the players experienced last season when the pandemic turned these games into glorified scrimmages, in many respects.
“That’s what we were talking about in between periods, how loud it was,” said Tyler Bertuzzi, who gave the fans plenty to cheer with a natural hat trick and a four-goal night in his return to the lineup after missing most of last season with a back injury. “The atmosphere, it almost felt like a playoff game. It’s good to have them back.”