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Andersson's effective

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Luke Glendening is one of the reasons the Wings have the third-best penalty kill among playoff teams. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT -- As far as the numbers go, Joakim Andersson rarely stands out.

But that doesn't mean he's not being an effective player.

It was Andersson's pass that led to Andreas Athanasiou's goal in Game 3, which turned out to be the game-winner.

In the regular season, Andersson averages just .17 points per game, with 36 in 205 games.

In the playoffs, Anderson averages .32 points per game, with 8 points in 25 games.

"I've played some playoff games in this league and in some other leagues as well, so I know what it's about," Andersson said after Tuesday's morning skate. "It’s a little different than the regular season. I was confident when they called me up that I could come in and do a job."

The Wings called Andersson up before their final regular-season game in New York against the Rangers.

Andersson is now playing on a line with Athanasiou and Tatar.

"Those are two offensive guys that are more used to playing on top lines, so I’ll take advantage of that and make a couple of plays to them," Andersson said.

Although Andersson does not get a lot of ice time, it doesn't mean that he doesn't have a lot of skill.

"I think Joakim does have a real ability to pass it and he has a real ability to do it in tight quarters," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Sometimes he might not get some of the opportunities that he wants for various reasons but when he is given the opportunity to play with skilled players he can put pucks in areas that allow them to be successful.

"I referenced the other day that he was the third-line center when Detroit beat Anaheim in seven and took Chicago to seven, playing with (Damien) Brunner and (Gustav) Nyquist. So with skilled players he has the ability to do that. When he’s out there with Tats and AA, to me that can be and it was a real impactful line. If you look at the chances for, they were on for a lot of them, so I’m hoping they can have the same impact tonight."

Athanasiou was the beneficiary of Andersson's pass in close quarters in Game 3.

"He’s made quite a few of those in the neutral zone and the offensive zone," Athanasiou said. "He’s making a lot of good plays and you can kind of see the chemistry starting to build between me and him and Tats right now. We had a really good game the last time, all three of us. We had some really good line moments there. The play before he made the one on the D (that led to the goal) was kind of outstanding where he kind of toe dragged and pulled it up to his backhand."

Andersson is known more for his defensive abilities, but that's not what Tatar wants to see from his line mate.

"I'd rather him to make plays on offense," Tatar said. "Obviously you want to be responsible in D zone and I think that's what he is for sure, but play with confidence, make plays and I think he's really smart center man. He did it in the past and I think he showed last game he can do it too."

POST-WHISTLE BATTLES: In three games of this first-round series, the Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning have racked up 215 penalty minutes, the most of any first-round series so far.

In the seven-game series last year, there were 82 total penalty minutes.

"Obviously last year, a seven-game series that we had with them I think a rivalry was built there, tensions ran high for a lot of the games," said Justin Abdelkader, who leads all players with 33 penalty minutes. "I think they’ve carried over to this year. Obviously both teams know what’s at stake and obviously both teams feel they have a chance at the Stanley Cup. We lost to Tampa last year and they got to the finals and we know both these teams, the winner can very easily get to the finals again. So this is fun and there’s not much that separates these two teams on the ice. That’s why being physical, those physical battles are big, but you’ve got to be disciplined at the same time."

Last year Abdelkader had just six penalty minutes in the series.

Neither side expects the post-game fighting to carry over, but that doesn't mean it won't be physical again.

"It’s playoff hockey," Athanasiou said. "When you come into it you know it’s going to be a hard-fought game. There’s going to be some chippiness, there’s going to be some fights. You just try not to stray away from our game and not take any needless penalties."

The Wings had more penalties in the first two games and the Lightning had more in Game 3.

"All playoff games are physical and obviously as a series goes on, you get more and more annoyed with each other because you see the same guys night in and night out," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "The chippiness settles down too as the series goes on because you want to stay out of the box. That's a big thing for us. We've been giving up too many power plays for the other team. We got to stay out of the box and be more disciplined."

Abdelkader has drawn the ire of most Lightning fans, especially after he did not fight Brian Boyle after Game 3.

Abdelkader had tape on his hands from previous fisticuffs and could have been suspended had he fought Boyle and drawn blood.

But Abdelkader isn't worried about being perceived as the villain of the series.

"I just try to play my game, be hard, be physical," Abdelkader said. "If you get under their skin you get under their skin but I just worry about myself and not worry what those guys think or what those guys talk about."

PENALTY KILL WORKING: There's been a lot of talk on both sides about the lack of effectiveness on the power play but much has to do with each team's penalty kill.

The Wings are just 1-for-17 on the power play while the Lightning are 1-for-14.

The Lightning are currently ranked second among playoff teams on the penalty kill and the Wings are third.

"Just playing within our system, doing things the right way, working hard, supporting each other, any simple stuff like that is what makes the penalty kill successful," Luke Glendening said.

One thing that helps is winning the face-offs in the defensive zone.

In the first three games of the series, Glendening has not been below 55.6 percent on face-offs, but he said it's not just him.

"First, it's just a one-on-one battle between the centers and that's just, I guess, where the stat goes, but it's so much more than that," Glendening said. "It's the wingers helping pick up loose pucks, it's the defensemen. Then it's when you get the puck, where are you going with it, what play are you making."

The Lightning certainly have a nice penalty killer in 6-foot-7 goaltender Ben Bishop but Dylan Larkin said the Lightning have a tough system to play against.

"I think their willingness to block shots, it always seems like when you have the puck shooting, there's three guys with shin pads," Larkin said. "Even how big Bishop is, you can't even see him. I think we got to move the puck to beat the pressure and we just got to find a way to get shots through."

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