DETROIT -- Special teams were the difference for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Ondrej Palat's power-play goal with 2:59 left gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena and a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference first round best-of-7 series.
Game 5 is Thursday at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
All of the Lightning's goals came on the power play -- in five chances -- as Nikita Kucherov scored twice with the extra man
"Power plays are always big in the playoffs," Palat said. "It has gotten a lot better. We practiced on it yesterday."
Tampa Bay's power play was 1-for-14 in the first three games of the series.
"We didn't really have a ton of chances to work on the power play," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We switched our units a bit and we put the puck in the hands of guys who know what to do with it."
Detroit was 0-for-4 on the power play and is 1-for-21 for the series. The Red Wings best chance with the extra man Tuesday was when Dylan Larkin hit the post from in front with 7:23 left in the third period and the game tied 2-2.
"At some point, special teams are going to affect a series and they did tonight," Cooper said.
Kucherov also had an assist, Jonathan Drouin had three assists and Ben Bishop made 26 saves.
Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist scored or Detroit. Petr Mrazek made 30 saves.
"We obviously lost the game on special teams, both the power play and the penalty kill," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We'd like to stay out of the box more than that. The fact that they punished us is what I'm most concerned with."
Palat tipped in Drouin's pass for Palat's first goal of the series with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in the penalty box for crosschecking.
"Fake shot, he gave to me and I had an open net," Palat said.
The Red Wings scored twice in the final six minutes of the second period to tie the score at 2.
Helm made it 2-1 with 5:07 left in the second period when he put in a loose puck from the crease. It was his first goal of the series.
Nyquist tied it with 10 seconds left in the period. He one-timed a shot past Bishop from below the right circle off a pass from Riley Sheahan. It was Nyquist's first goal of the playoffs and his fourth goal in 34 playoff games.
"I think it got us back on track there for a little bit. It would have been nice to feed off that big second-period finish that we had, going into the third," Helm said. "It would have been nice if we kept that momentum going a little bit harder and thrown a few more pucks at the net and been able to score one. That didn't happen tonight."
Kucherov's first power-play goal 5:41 into the game gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Kucherov beat Mrazek on the short side with a one-timer from the right faceoff dot after a pass from Tyler Johnson. The goal came nine seconds after Justin Abdelkader went off for holding.
Kucherov's second power-play goal of the game made it 2-0 with 9:29 left in the second period. He put in a one-timer from the slot for his fifth goal of the series.
The Lightning had 14 shots in the first period after managing 16 shots in Game 3.
NOTES: D Matt Taormina made his NHL debut, replacing RW Erik Condra in the Tampa Bay lineup. ... Only four Tampa Bay players have goals in the series. Seven of the eight have come from the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn. Brian Boyle has the other goal. ... Detroit scored two goals in each of the first three games. ... Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper and Detroit coach Jeff Blashill are good friends after working together in youth hockey and coaching against each other in the American Hockey League and in juniors in the United States Hockey League. ... D Kyle Quincey replaced D Alexey Marchenko in the Detroit lineup.