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Mrazek in net for Red Wings for Game 3 vs. Lightning

Goalie replaces Jimmy Howard; Detroit trails series 2-0

by Paul Harris / Correspondent


Eastern Conference First Round 

Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 2-0 

TV: 7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports, SUN, FS-D

DETROIT -- Petr Mrazek starts in net for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.

Tampa Bay leads the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Mrazek, who was 27-16-6 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .921 save percentage during the regular season, replaces Jimmy Howard. Howard, who allowed four goals on 30 shots in a 5-2 loss in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Friday, has a 3.59 GAA and .891 SV% in the series.

Mrazek appeared in all seven games against the Lightning in the first round of the playoffs last season, going 3-4 with a 2.11 GAA, .925 SV% and two shutouts.

"He has a history of success, obviously has done a good job against Tampa, so we put him in," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "Jimmy's done a good job through two games, so it certainly isn't a matter of him not doing a good enough job."

Mrazek hasn't played since relieving Howard in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in the penultimate game of the regular season April 7. Mrazek's last start was March 29, when he was pulled after giving up two goals on seven shots in 11:25 of a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. 

He has been pulled four times in his past 14 starts. Mrazek has been working with goaltending coach Jim Bedard on a few technical aspects of his game.

"I think the time away has been good, he put the work in and he's prepared to do a good job," Blashill said. "Now he has to execute."

The Lightning have the same objective no matter the identity of the opposing goaltender.

"Regardless of who they have in goal, that doesn't change what we've got to do," coach Jon Cooper said. "We've got to shoot the puck and get it past them."

Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith returns to the lineup for the first time since March 26. He has been a healthy scratch the past nine games.

Blashill shuffled lines at morning skate, including separating forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Datsyuk was with Darren Helm and Brad Richards; Zetterberg skated with Gustav Nyquist and Dylan Larkin.

"We didn't practice [Saturday], so we just tried some different lines this morning in case we want to go to them in the game," Blashill said, "but we'll make decisions on exactly what lines we want to go with once we get into the game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Vladislav Namestnikov - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Mike Blunden - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra

Victor Hedman - Matt Carle

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Steven Stamkos (blood clot), Anton Stralman (broken leg). J.T. Brown (upper body)

Scratched: Matt Taormina, Jonathan Marchessault  


Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Brad Richards

Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Justin Abdelkader - Riley Sheahan - Luke Glendening

Joakim Andersson - Andreas Athanasiou - Tomas Tatar

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Alexey Marchenko - Danny DeKeyser

Brendan Smith - Mike Green

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Drew Miller (knee), Johan Franzen (concussion)

Scratched: Kyle Quincey, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen

Status report: Condra replaces Brown in the lineup. Cooper said he's comfortable with the line of Boyle between Blunden and Condra because they have played together and been effective in the past ... Smith appeared to be replacing Quincey in the lineup - both were on the ice for the morning skate - but Blashill said a final decision would be made before the game.

Who's hot: Johnson has two goals and four assists this series. … Kucherov has three goals and two assists in two games. … Killorn has two goals and two assists in two games. … Tatar has an assist in each game this series.

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