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Red Wings aim to avoid elimination in Game 5

Lightning can close out series with victory on home ice

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

Game 5: RED WINGS at LIGHTNING

Eastern Conference First Round

Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 3-1

TV: 7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SUN, FS-D, TVA Sports 2

TAMPA -- The Detroit Red Wings will be in full desperation mode when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

The last time the Red Wings rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a series was the 1992 Norris Division Semifinals when they defeated the Minnesota North Stars in seven games.

Forward Justin Abdelkader said Detroit has proven it's capable of responding to high-pressure situations all season.

"We've been playing this way for the last 30 games of the season," Abdelkader said. "We've had to win and accumulate some points to get in the playoffs. The game to close a team out is always the hardest game to win and we're not going to make it easy on them."

If there's one thing the Red Wings can build on is that the series has been closer than the 3-1 advantage would indicate and believe they've outplayed the Lightning in 5-on-5 situations.

"I think we did a pretty good job in the home games," Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar said. "Special teams decided the last game so I'm pretty confident we're doing a good job keeping the action in their zone. It would be nice to score some more goals."

Though Tampa Bay has a distinct advantage, recent history has shown that 3-1 series leads are hardly safe. In the past three Stanley Cup Playoffs, a team has rallied from deficits of 3-1 or 3-0 to win the series four times. 

When Lightning coach Jon Cooper was asked to rate the importance of clinching the series Thursday on a scale of 1-10, he quickly said 10. 

"We're not trying to focus on getting extra rest, we just want to win hockey games," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We have a chance to close it out but we expect them to be at their best. We want to come flying out of the gates but we have to expect the same from them."

Goalie Petr Mrazek will start his third straight game for the Red Wings. Mrazek shut out the Lightning in Game 5 of the 2015 first round. 

Goalie Ben Bishop will start for Tampa Bay.

Here are the projected lineups:

RED WINGS

Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Brad Richards

Justin Abdelkader - Luke Glendening - Riley Sheahan

Andreas Athanasiou - Joakim Andersson - Tomas Tatar

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith - Mike Green

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Alexey Marchenko (upper body), Drew Miller (knee), Johan Franzen (concussion)

Scratched: Xavier Ouellet, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen

LIGHTNING

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Cedric Paquette - Vladislav Namestnikov - Ryan Callahan

Brian Boyle - Mike Blunden

Victor Hedman- Matthew Carle

Jason Garrison- Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov

Matt Taormina

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

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

Scratched: Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Condra

Status report: Marchenko participated in Detroit's morning skate but coach Jeff Blashill said he will not play Thursday. ...Cooper did not confirm he would suit up seven defensemen but Condra and Marchessault stayed on the ice after the rest of the Lightning wrapped up their morning skate. ...Blashill said he'll go with the same lineup as Game 4. 

Who's hot: Kucherov had two goals and an assist in Game 4. … Tatar had an assist in Game 4 and leads the Red Wings with three in the series.

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