Frustrations ended briefly for the Detroit Red Wings as they made home advantage count. Goals from a rookie and the leading veteran gave them an important 2-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena Sunday night. Detroit avoided a bigger whole and set the series at 2-1 in favor of their opponents.
It became very important for the Red Wings to get a victory at home as they sat two games down letting Tampa walk over them. Friday was another showing by the first line of the Lightning’s offense as they notched plenty of goals in their 5-2 win at home. Detroit gets a chance to pull off the same success while at home in a must win for them to avoid 3-0 deficit. Petr Mrazek got the start over Howard to maintain stability and a change in stopping Tampa’s scoring surge and have one of their own. The Czech has experience playing them before last season where he helped give Detroit a win and would do everything to produce one on the night.
The first thing to occur in the period was Detroit’s physical strength on ice with Brendan Smith laying out Tampa’s Cedric Paquette into the boards that energized the sold out crowd. Although Tampa was clearly having more time shooting the puck they had Detroit tightening up on getting control back and press goaltender Ben Bishop.
When they evened up at seven shots a piece through 13 minutes, the Red Wings rookies were taking their opportunities to notch the team’s goal. Andreas Anthanasiou came very close to giving Detroit the lead but the Tampa defense allowed very little wiggle room to create solid scoring chances.
A power play came to then in the late stages with Datsyuk trying to notch his first goal this postseason. They had one good rush into the Tampa zone but on their second try, Tampa took another penalty to give Detroit a 5 on 3 chance for 60 seconds. Detroit searched for a chance to launch the puck cleanly through but failed to get a shot on net.
The final minute on the power play ended with Detroit taking a pair but not changing the scoreless situation. The period ended with the Red Wings outshooting the Lightning 12-9 while delivering 14 hits. Even though they didn’t convert on their two power plays, the energy they had through twenty minutes looked great to roll into the second.
Detroit had a lot of action inside the Lightning zone but despite all their movements to set up a shot to the net, it was still a difficulty to solving Bishop. A third power play was implemented for the Red Wings but was quickly killed off by Tampa. The Red Wings racked up a fourth but were coming up empty handed on the man advantage as half the game elapsed with them 0-4.
Things got better with a faceoff in the Tampa Bay zone as they got control of the puck being patient with their movements around. It came to taking a one timer by Anthanasiou who scored the first goal of the game getting the puck through the side of Bishop for his first career postseason goal. With things looking positive, the Red Wings were on a mission to get deep into goals on their end and hold strong.
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg made a play that got Detroit fighting hard a point blank range to get the puck behind Bishop. It was done with tremendous fight as the veteran scored his first making it 2-0 with 2:44 left. After official reviews and one more in a challenge by Lightning coach Jon Cooper, the goal stood for the Red Wings ending a successful second period that saw them outshooting Tampa 11-3. They also killed off a last minute power play by the Lightning, which did roll into the third, but the Detroit PK unit that came out handled the majority of it.
They played the first half of the period by playing defense against the Lightning. Preventing scoring chances, producing blocked shots and a great performance in net by Mrazek had them doing well while maintaining their two goal lead. There were chances for Detroit on their fifth power play but it went in and out quickly leading to their fifth unanswered.
Detroit tried not to let that bother them as the clock was working alongside them to bring the game to a conclusion. Six minutes remained in regulation and after 30 seconds fell off, the Lightning caught a chance to cut the lead in half. Veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk took a rare penalty tripping Braydon Coburn. It was a second time for the Red Wings to step up on the penalty kill and did so clearing the puck and knocking time off.
With 2:30 left, Tampa pulled Bishop from net putting six men on the ice but getting caught on a penalty sent them to play down a man for the rest of the game. Detroit didn’t care about whether or not they could score and went with the strategy of keeping the puck out of the hands of Tampa. Detroit was successful in their fight and ended with fights breaking out.
Detroit made it known in their efforts in Game Three had to be one to win. They outshot Tampa 30-16 and held control of the faceoff winning a 51 percent majority. Mrazek didn’t do a lot of work but he more than earned a reason to stay in for them as he earned his third postseason shutout against the Lightning facing 16 shots. While it looked like all of Detroit’s moves were hitting their marks, work had to be generated further as Game Four would take place Tuesday where they could tie the series if Sunday’s wins can go along with them.