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Mrazek stifles Lightning, Red Wings take series lead

by Paul Harris / NHL.com

DETROIT –- Coach Mike Babcock said his Detroit Red Wings "looked like a real hockey team" on Tuesday.

Petr Mrazek made 22 saves for his first shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Detroit defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 at Joe Louis Arena to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series.

"I thought we skated and looked like a real hockey team. I didn't think we had skated the way we were capable of skating," Babcock said. "I didn't think we made their [defensemen] skate the way they should have in the first couple of games, and I think those things happened tonight."

Forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening scored for Detroit and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson had two assists.

"Huge win for our team," Mrazek said. "First game at home (in this series), first win (at home in this series), but it’s over now and we look (toward) Thursday now."

Game 4 is Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-D).

This was the Red Wings' first home playoff win since the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

Goalie Ben Bishop made 18 saves for Tampa Bay.

"They got an extremely fortunate bounce on the first goal. It's the only bounce they got," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "They didn't need any more. We didn't get bounces."

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader made his series debut and had an assist. He missed the first two games and the last four regular-season games because of a hand injury.

"Any time you're out for any amount of time, over a week, I think you’re going to feel winded, but the good thing is with the injury, I could still skate and keep my legs and that was huge," Abdelkader said. "I think that went a long ways into helping me feel pretty good out there tonight."

Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith made his 2015 playoff debut after being a healthy scratch in the first two games.

"It’s always big when you get guys back or some new guys come in and help you," Mrazek said. "It helped us today."

Datsyuk gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 8:46 into the first period when Tomas Tatar's shot from the left point deflected in off his ankle when he was going to the net in the slot.

"Datsyuk's goal, he doesn't see it, hits off the back of his leg and it's an inch inside the post," Cooper said. "We had open nets that were an inch outside the post so, if you're ready for the cliché game, that's what I'm throwing at you, and we had to play from behind and they are a really good defensive team."

Sheahan's power-play goal 6:42 into the third period made it 2-0. Sheahan sent a backhand past Bishop after taking a pass from Abdelkader. It was Sheahan's first Stanley Cup Playoff goal.

"We were happy with the way we played and we were a little more consistent," Sheahan said. "We generated some more chances in the [offensive] zone, so we were happy with that. Mrazek played a good game for us, and our defense was solid."

Glendening scored an empty-net goal.

Mrazek denied Lightning center Brian Boyle on a shorthanded breakaway attempt 8:30 into the third period. Mrazek stopped Cedric Paquette's backhand from the slot with a pad save with about four minutes left in the second period.

The Red Wings killed a 56-second two-man disadvantage early in the second. Detroit got some help when Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson hit the goal post at 6:06 during the power play.

"The 5-on-3 was a huge part of the game," Mrazek said. "After that, the game came on our side a little bit."

Detroit defenseman Marek Zidlicky hit the goal post 1:36 into the period. Detroit forward Darren Helm hit the crossbar 1:08 into the game. A puck hit the goal post behind Mrazek off the leg of Red Wings left wing Drew Miller around the 10-minute mark of the first.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos wasn't on the ice for any of Tampa Bay’s first power play, which came midway through the first period. Stamkos took a slashing penalty against Helm after the power play ended.

"Well, we have two power-play units and he plays on one of them and he plays quite a bit," Cooper said.

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