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Red Wings down but not out entering Game 3

Detroit happy to be home, aims to slow Tampa Bay's top line

by Paul Harris / Correspondent

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings don't feel their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning is over because they lost the first two games.

Game 3 is at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports, SUN, FS-D).

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said despite his team's 2-0 deficit the series has been close.

"I don't think there's been any significant difference at all in scoring chances and shots; it's been pretty even," he said after an optional skate at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. "What they have done is made that big play or two defensively and offensively. Obviously they have made a lot of big plays and we've got to make our big plays."

Blashill said he's talked to the players about a few areas where improvement is needed.

"My message to the team will be focus," he said. "We want to learn from what we did bad and we want to accentuate the positive. … The series isn't over after two games so we want to go out and focus on winning tomorrow night's game."

To do that Detroit will have to slow the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn. They have scored seven of Lightning's eight goals in the series and combined for 15 points.

"[We have to] not give them too much space. We're giving them too much time and too much space and they can make plays when they have that," Red Wings rookie forward Andreas Athanasiou said. "... You take that space away and it's a whole different game."

The Red Wings also will try to get their power play going; in the first two games it scored once in 11 chances.

"Get a little momentum and get pucks to the net as much as we can to get those second and third chances," forward Justin Abdelkader said.

Their extra-man goal came early in the second period of Game 2 when Brad Richards scored to tie the game 2-2. Helping was a screen by forward Riley Sheahan.

Video: DET@TBL, Gm2: Richards goes top-shelf to tie game

Blashill said Sheahan and Abdelkader have been effective as net-front presences on the power play.

"I think the bigger issue is that we've got to deliver more pucks to the net," Blashill said.

The Red Wings hope being in familiar surroundings works as well for them as it did for the Lightning at Amalie Arena in the first two games.

"They won their home games and there's no reason why we can't do the same," Athanasiou said.

Said Abdelkader: "We're here at [Joe Louis Arena] and looking forward to playing in that great environment, where the fans have always been great and we've played well here."

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