LIGHTNING at RED WINGS
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Detroit leads best-of-7 series 3-2
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek is experiencing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, but the 23-year-old sounds like a veteran heading Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.
"You try and be focused for every game," Mrazek said Sunday. "You want to finish it as soon as possible. We know the game starts from 0-0 [Monday] and we're going to go and play hard."
Mrazek has two shutouts in the series, including a 28-save performance in Game 5. He's rewarded coach Mike Babcock for picking him rather than veteran Jimmy Howard to start when the playoffs started.
"He was a star in junior," Red Wings Mike Babcock said. "His first year in the American [Hockey] League he wins the Calder Cup. You don't win the Calder Cup by accident so he must be good," Babcock said. "And every time we called him up he played good. He plays good so he must be good."
The Lightning are one game from having their season end in the first round for the second straight year, but there isn't much panic. Defenseman Victor Hedman was part of the Lightning team that came back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
"We were down 3-1 and had to go into [Pittsburgh] to take it to Game 6," Hedman told the Lightning website. "It's all about belief, and belief that you can do it. I'm not worried about this group at all. We know we can do it and that's kind of the mindset we touched on today."
Forward Brian Boyle and defenseman Anton Stralman were with the New York Rangers last year when they trailed the Penguins 3-1 in the second round but rallied to win that series.
"Sometimes you can surprise yourself with what you're capable of doing," Boyle said. "…People write you off; it's fine. We're a confident group. We need to play better than we have is the bottom line. I don't think we've played as well as we can. We've won two of five. We have a chance to tie it up. It's going to be difficult obviously but we have a chance to do it."
If the Lightning win Monday, Game 7 would be at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Wednesday.