(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning wouldn’t change too many things
about Game 1. One exception, of course, would be the final score.
The Lightning hope to bounce back from a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Detroit
Red Wings when they host Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on
Tampa Bay dominated play in Thursday’s opener at Amalie Arena, outshooting the
visiting Red Wings by a 46-14 margin. However, thanks to a stellar performance
from goaltender Petr Mrazek and a pair of Pavel Datsyuk goals, Detroit was
able to grab the early lead in the best-of-seven set.
Mrazek stopped 44 shots in his NHL playoff debut and Datsyuk scored the 40th
and 41st goals of his playoff career, including one on the power play. Detroit
went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, while killing off all seven of Tampa’s
Detroit’s rookie goaltender claimed the No. 1 spot from Jimmy Howard late in
the season and he repaid head coach Mike Babcock’s trust with a career-high in
saves. Mrazek finished the regular season 16-9-2 with a 2.38 goals-against
average and three shutouts over 29 appearances,
“Petr really saved us tonight and the PK was good. Other than that, we have a
lot of stuff we have to be better at,” said Red Wings captain Henrik
Luke Glendening added a key short-handed goal in the third period while Darren
Helm picked up a pair of assists for the Red Wings, who are in the playoffs
for the 24th straight season. Detroit has reached the postseason every year
Brian Boyle and Nikita Nesterov lit the lamp for the Lightning, but Ben Bishop
made just 11 saves in defeat.
Bishop was also making his postseason debut after missing all of Tampa Bay’s
four-game, opening-round sweep against the Canadiens last year with a
“The one thing we talked about is, we’ve lost games like this where we felt we
were the better team and lost the game,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
“But we’ve also won games the way Detroit has where we weren’t probably the
better team in the game but our goalie stood on his head, so what comes
around, goes around … If we can put forth that effort every single night,
I’m going to take our chances with our team.”
The Lightning had defenseman Braydon Coburn in the lineup Thursday for the
first time since March 10, but fellow blueliner Jason Garrison will sit out
again today with an upper-body injury. Garrison has missed the last seven
games dating back to the regular season.
Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader is day-to-day with a hand injury and is expected
to sit out on Saturday. He has missed the final four games of the regular
season before being held out again on Thursday.
The Lightning opened the 2014-15 season series against Detroit with three
straight wins before the Red Wings answered with a 4-0 home victory in the
final meeting on March 28. Prior to that shutout loss, the Bolts had scored 12
times in winning the first three meetings.
Tampa is hoping to even this Atlantic Division series on Saturday before
heading to the Motor City for Game 3 on Tuesday. The Lightning boasted a
32-8-1 record at home during the regular season, but were just 18-16-7 on the
Detroit was 21-15-5 as the visiting team in 2014-15.