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Lightning not comfortable with 2-0 lead

Tampa Bay expecting even more physical games as series shifts to Detroit

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula is happy his team holds a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings, but said he felt the games could have gone either way.

The Lightning scored three goals in the third period for a 5-2 win against the Red Wings in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Friday. Game 3 will be at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday (7 p.m. ET: CNBC, CBC, FS-D, SUN, TVA Sports), where Tampa Bay will be without forward J.T. Brown, who is out for the series because of an upper-body injury.

"I think it's been close games, it's been even, kind of the same way it was last year," Filppula said. "Not a whole lot of room out there. Obviously we've been able to score more goals, which is good."

The difference has been the production of the Lightning's top line of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov, which has seven of the Lightning's eight goals in the series.

"It's been really impressive," Filppula said. "Everybody's good with the puck, everybody can make plays and that usually works for a line. And that's great for us."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said a single line often can carry a team through a Stanley Cup Playoff series, but more players will have to contribute for the Lightning to extend their run.

Video: DET@TBL, Gm2: Johnson puts Lightning ahead in the 3rd

"You're happy that [the Johnson-Killorn-Kucherov line] has scored seven of our eight goals," Cooper said. "The problem is they've scored seven of our eight goals, so we're going to have to get some secondary scoring. Not that we haven't had our chances, but ultimately other guys are going to have to score."

The injured Brown won't be one of them. Cooper said he has been one of the Lightning's most underrated players this season.

"He's not lighting the scoreboard up with points, but you're not going to find too many bigger gamers than J.T. Brown," Cooper said. "That's a tough loss for us, but right in the mantra of losing [center Steven] Stamkos and [defenseman Anton] Stralman. Let's keep this playoff ride going so it's not his last game."

Brown had eight goals and 14 points in 78 games during the regular season.

Filppula said the Lightning have to expect the games to stay as physical as they have been the first two games as the series shifts to Detroit.

"I think they've been pretty angry so far," Filppula said. "We just have to stay under control and have to hope to get power plays and score goals."

Cooper said the Lightning have to approach the games in Detroit as must-wins despite their 2-0 series lead.

"It's only been two games, and believe me, we'll take it," Cooper said. "Clearly [Game 3] is a big one. It will decide if the series is 2-1 or 3-0 and it's a completely different mind-set when it's 2-1 rather than 3-0. We have to go win on the road; it's as simple as that."

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