Work in Sports
DETROIT (Ticker) -- Seeking a fourth straight win for the first time in three years, the Tampa Bay Lightning traveled to Detroit, where many winning streaks have ended in recent years.
Pat Verbeek recorded his 1,000th point with a pair of assists and Steve Yzerman remained hot with his 27th goal as the Detroit Red Wings halted Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory.
In his 17th season, Verbeek reached the milestone just 40 seconds into the game when he picked up the primary assist on Yzerman's goal. Verbeek deflected Nicklas Lidstrom's point shot and the puck came to Yzerman, who scored from in close to put Detroit ahead for good.
"My parents gave it to me as a kid to never stop working. That got me over a lot of hurdles to get me here," said Verbeek, who made sure he got the historic puck. "Right now, it's somewhere in my locker. I'll probably put it on the wall in my room sometime when I find a place to permanently live.
"It seems kind of corny to do that, but had no one gotten it, I would have grabbed the puck from somewhere. But Kris Draper was thoughtful enough to get it."
Yzerman has five goals and four assists in his last seven games.
Verbeek's other assist came on Brent Gilchrist's insurance tally midway through the second period.
Defenseman Larry Murphy reached another milestone, passing John Bucyk into third place on the all-time list with 1,541 games played. Former Red Wing Alex Delvecchio is next with 1,549, while Gordie Howe is first 1,767.
"When I was a kid, those guys were my idols, and to be mentioned in the same sentence as them is unbelievable," Murphy said. "It's the same thing over again, I've got a stock answer -- I'm just fortunate to have played in the league this long. Then the numbers add up. It's nothing I imagined when I started. It's a surprise to me."
Chris Osgood made 23 saves for the Red Wings, who have won three of their last four games and climbed within three points of St. Louis for the top spot in the Central Division and the Western Conference.
"We learned from the past, the Chicago game. You have to prepare for every game like it's the utmost important game," Verbeek said. "Every game is hard, especially in the last quarter of the season, and it's tough to play the lower clubs in the standings. They're playing loose so you have to come up with energy and intensity."
Mike Sillinger had the lone goal on the power play for Tampa Bay, which has not won four in a row since February 20-25, 1997. The Lightning fell to 1-15-3 on the road since December 1 and have lost eight of nine all-time in Detroit.
"We were coming off the high point of our season, the three straight wins. We knew tonight would be a good test," Sillinger said. "What killed us was getting down 2-0 right away. They're tough to get behind against because they play so conservative. They have a good system and play real well defensively."
Draper scored just under six minutes after Yzerman to give the Red Wings a quick 2-0 lead. Kirk Maltby wove his way through the neutral zone and dished to Draper, who turned at the top of the left faceoff circle and slapped the puck under goaltender Zac Bierk's glove.
After winning his first three starts, Bierk surrendered two goals on six shots and was replaced by Rich Parent.
"I should have pulled him after the first one, that was my mistake," Tampa Bay coach Steve Ludzik said.
Sillinger answered on the power play at 9:03, getting the rebound of Stan Drulia's shot above the crease and putting a low wrist shot inside the right goalpost for his 18th of the season.