Sometimes in hockey, you well play and lose. In Game One, the Lightning dominated play for long stretches and outshot the Red Wings, 46-14. But they dropped the contest because Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek played a terrific game, Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals on high-skill plays and the Lightning allowed a killer shorthanded tally to Luke Glendening.
First, the good news. Compared to how they played last year in their series against Montreal, the Lightning looked like a completely different team. They did so many things well in this game, from managing the puck crisply to having a shooting mentality to pressuring the puck in the Red Wings zone. They didn’t get down and let their play suffer when they fell behind 1-0 – or after Glendening gave Detroit a 3-1 third period lead. Instead, they kept pushing. If they are able to dominate play this way during the series, the Red Wings are going to have a hard time continually stealing games.
Having written all that, there is room for improvement. Even though the Red Wings only mustered 14 shots on net, they did generate several dangerous scoring chances. The Lightning will look to limit those as the series progresses. Also, they need to capitalize more effectively on second shot opportunities. Mrazek gave up a number of rebounds in this game. Even though the Lightning had net front presence, they often failed to get their sticks on those second chances. Credit the Red Wings for defending well in front of their goalie and clearing those pucks, but the Bolts must try to bear down on those second and third chances, especially if Mrazek continues to play so well and stops the initial shot. And then there’s the power play. The final number is an ugly one – 0-7 on the power play in the game. But cosmetically, the 0-7 looks worse than it actually was. Three of those were shortened man advantages, including a final chance in the closing seconds. And many of the man advantages were dangerous – the Lightning posted 12 shots during their power play opportunities. They had plenty of zone time and applied consistent pressure. But their inability to get a goal on those chances hurt. They missed on four power plays in the final period when a goal could have tied the game – and yielded the shorthanded goal in the process. Ultimately, analysis of the power play is similar to the overall game. If the Lightning execute on their power play throughout the series like they did in this game, they are going to score some goals. But the fact that they didn’t score any on the power play in Game One was a big factor in the outcome.
So despite all the good things they did in this game, they are now down in the series and have surrendered home ice advantage. Which makes Game Two on Saturday afternoon very important.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Glendening’s third period SHG.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Petr Mrazek – Red Wings. 44 saves.
2.Pavel Datsyuk – Red Wings. Two goals.
3.Brian Boyle – Lightning. SHG.