Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – Pavel Datsyuk registered two goals, and the Detroit Red Wings posted a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle between first-place clubs at St. Pete Times Forum.
Danny Cleary had a goal and two assists for the Red Wings, who got 38 saves from Jimmy Howard.
The Central Division leaders were coming off consecutive victories earned over a weekend home-and-home series against Boston.
Victor Hedman and Steve Downie tallied for the Southeast Division-leading Lightning, who fell to 5-3-1 on their NHL record-tying 12-game homestand.
Dwayne Roloson allowed all six goals on 31 shots in defeat.
Cleary and Datsyuk put Detroit ahead 2-0 with goals in the first period.
While on a Red Wing power play, Cleary parked himself outside the crease and deflected Nicklas Lidstrom’s blast from the point at 6:40.
After dropping the puck to Cleary, Datsyuk drove the net and backhanded home a rebound at 14:57.
Tampa Bay erased the deficit on goals by Hedman and Downie less than three minutes apart before Detroit restored its two-goal advantage later in the second period.
Hedman intercepted a pass at the blue line and fired a shot on goal that tipped off the stick of Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson at 11:51.
The Lightning pulled even on a broken play at 14:38. Steven Stamkos fanned on his one-timer, but the puck went right to Downie in the left circle and he beat Howard.
Detroit, though, responded with two goals in a 1:26 span to go up 4-2.
The Red Wings regained the lead on a power play. With Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier serving a goaltender interference penalty, Niklas Kronwall let go a wrister from atop the right circle that caromed in off the right skate of Hedman at 16:34.
Justin Abdelkader lit the lamp with two minutes remaining, taking a feed from Tomas Holmstrom and hitting an open net from the left post.
Datsyuk struck again at 11:39 of the third period, then Darren Helm beat Roloson on a breakaway to cap the scoring with 1:51 remaining.
Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart returned to the lineup after missing 15 games with a broken jaw suffered on January 7…Lidstrom and teammate Henrik Zetterberg both collected two assists…Tampa Bay now has six losses and one tie against the Red Wings since last beating them on January 7, 2003…The Lightning and the California Golden Seals in 1975-76 are the only teams in NHL history to host 12 straight games.