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Lightning looking to tie series against Red Wings

by Brian Hunter /



Detroit leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Tampa Bay Lightning are itching to get back on the ice Saturday at Amalie Arena to try to tie their Eastern Conference First Round Series with the Detroit Red Wings.

"The guys are rallying behind each other," forward Tyler Johnson said Friday in comments tweeted by the Lightning. "We're confident in ourselves. We just can't wait for [Saturday's] game."

The Lightning will attempt to snap a six-game losing streak in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that dates to their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final.

Tampa Bay missed the playoffs each of the next two seasons before returning in 2014, when they were swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

Five of the six losses in the streak have come by one goal, including 3-2 to the Red Wings on Thursday. The Lightning held a 46-14 shots advantage only to be repeatedly turned back by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, like his players, was undeterred Friday.

"We'll be ready," he said. "We'll be swinging for the fences [Saturday], and we'll see what happens."

The Red Wings said they understand they will probably have to play a lot better if they want to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 Tuesday.

Mrazek was dominant in his postseason debut with 44 saves and veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk had his first multigoal playoff game since 2010, but the Red Wings got beat to the puck too often and were shorthanded seven times.

"We had to use our PK for 14 minutes and that doesn't leave a lot of ice time for your fourth line to get out there," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "That was among the several things we have to clean up [Saturday]."

Mrazek made 12 saves helping the Red Wings kill all seven Lightning power plays. That continued a troubling trend for Tampa Bay, which led the NHL during the regular season at 3.16 goals per game but finished in the middle of the pack with a power play that clicked at 18.8 percent, tied for 13th in the League.

"If you look at it, we had 14 seconds on one power play and a couple of other abbreviated power plays that counted as full chances," Cooper said. "Looking back at it we had favorable situations, but at times we shot when we should have passed and passed when we should have shot."

Babcock said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes for Game 2, which means forward Justin Abdelkader would miss another game with a hand injury.

Cooper said everyone was available for the Lightning with the exception of defenseman Jason Garrison, who has shed his non-contact jersey at practice as he works his way back from an upper-body injury. He could be available when the series shifts to Detroit.


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