Defense - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
Shots: 1 | +/-: 1
– During this series, Jonathan Ericsson
joined the top-nine list of Red Wings’ defensemen who have played the most playoff games in their career.
While it hasn’t necessarily been a stellar postseason for the 32-year-old Swede, he knows he must do better tonight if the Red Wings are to extend the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I need to be more active. I think I need to move more,” Ericsson admitted Thursday morning. “When I move with the puck more I make better plays and sometimes when you look for plays and you’re standing still it just kind of bad habits.”
On Sunday, Ericsson passed Brad Stuart (72) for ninth place in playoff games played among Red Wings’ defensemen. The top eight are: Nicklas Lidstrom (263), Marcel Pronovost (118), Niklas Kronwall (108), Chris Chelios (103), Red Kelly (94), Vladimir Konstantinov (82), Jack Stewart (80) and Viacheslav Fetisov (78).
Ericsson caught some unjust heat for a cross-checking penalty that occurred late in Game 4, setting up the Lightning’s game-winning goal on the power play with less than three minutes to go in the third period.
“I think sometimes he gets blamed for things that aren’t necessarily his fault,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was a breakdown that actually another player lost his coverage and he had to make up for. So I think sometimes when you’re just sitting in the stands you might not understand which guys are whose and so he gets blamed for some of that.
“Johnnie Ericsson when he is playing his best he’s using his big, huge frame and his skating ability to close gaps to not give too much space. He does a real good job when he’s playing his best at managing the puck. … He’s a big, hard, physical presence that keeps guys away from our net. So that’s what we need out of him.”
Keeping the Lightning’s shooters to the outside will play a role tonight. If Ericsson and the other defensemen can give goalie Petr Mrazek lanes for him to see shots it will help cut down on the Lightning offense.
“We all have to do a better job in boxing out,” Ericsson said. “That’s another thing we don’t want anyone to come into our crease or between the circles. We got to keep them to the outside. We got to own the middle everywhere on the ice.”
Ericsson and Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman were mic’ed up for Game 4. Watch video below
The power play has been rough but the Wings get a glorious opportunity when the Lightning picked up a bench minor for too many men on the ice, followed by Jason Garrison’s cross-checking penalty against Justin Abdelkader 46 seconds later.
Detroit managed to keep possession in the attacking zone the lion’s share of the 5-on-3 advantage that last 1:14. The best chance came when Pavel Datsyuk whistled a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle. But the puck hit the near post and exited the crease to the right of goalie Ben Bishop.
It was Detroit’s second two-man advantage of the series. The Wings failed to capitalize on a 59-second 5 on 3 during the first period of Game 3.
The Wings had another scoring chance in the second half of the period. With 7:11 left on the clock, defenseman Danny DeKeyser cruised down the left wing before unleashing a quick wrist shot high that Bishop stopped with his blocker.
It’s just the second time in the series that the teams have gone into the first intermission scoreless. Game 3 Sunday in Detroit was scoreless until the Red Wings scored twice in the second period.
Kronwall picked up a hooking penalty in the final minute of the period. It was Detroit’s second minor infraction.
The Lightning will start the second period with 1:22 left on the power play.
DETROIT 0, TAMPA BAY 0
PENALTIES: 1. TBL, Drouin (too many men on the ice), 3:41; 2. TBL, Garrison (cross-checking), 4:27; 3. DET, Nyquist (slashing), 9:06; 4. DET, Kronwall (hooking), 19:21.
SHOTS: Detroit 9, Tampa Bay 8.
The Wings killed off the remaining 1:22 of Kronwall’s penalty. But the penalty kill was pressed back into service fairly quickly when Dylan Larkin went to the box for hooking at 2:53.
The PK did its job and actually managed to get offensive in the meantime as Riley Sheahan and Darren Helm each had shorthanded scoring chances.
A nice defensive play by Sheahan resulted in a shorthanded breakaway. The Wings’ forward blocked a pass attempt along the blue line by Hedman, and was off to the races, streaking through the neutral zone with plenty of time to decide how he was going to beat Bishop. It looked like Sheahan tried to go five-hole but the 6-foot-7 goalie quickly reacted to make the save with his pads.
The Wings had a second breakaway in the period. But Bishop came up huge again, this time stopping Helm who took a stretch pass from DeKeyser and headed into the clear before making a move to his left in an attempt to fool Bishop. The goalie didn’t bite and made the save to preserve a scoreless game.
The Lightning’s top assist man in this series, Tyler Johnson (five assists) went missing after the three-minute mark of the period. He left the ice and wasn’t slotted on the bench for the remainder of the frame.
Larkin had a good scoring chance in the waning minutes. But again, Bishop came up big save on Detroit's third breakaway, steering the puck into the corner with his right blocker.
DETROIT 0, TAMPA BAY 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Larkin (tripping), 2:53; 2. DET, Quincey (hooking), 9:47; 3. TBL, Hedman (holding), 14:01.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (23), Tampa Bay 6 (14).
The Lightning’s Johnson returned for the start of the third period.
With 19:19 remaining, Bishop appeared to be hurt – albeit momentarily – by Sheahan’s rising slap shot that hit the goalie in the left shoulder.
Zetterberg had a chance but Ryan Callahan beat the Red Wings’ captain to a loose puck to the right of Bishop to knock it toward the half wall.
With less than 11 minutes to go, the Red Wings used their timeout following an icing.
The Lightning struggled with poor puck management and giveaways throughout the period but the Wings couldn’t capitalize on the home team’s miscues.
Johnson left the game for a second time, returning to the Lightning dressing room midway through the period. He was back with less than three minutes left in regulation.
Glendening had a scoring chance on another Lightning turnover. Bishop made the save sending the Lightning back up ice where they scored a fluky goal.
Petr Mrazek tried to play the puck to Ericsson behind the net but didn’t nudge it hard enough to avoid a charging Callahan, who threw the puck out front to Alex Killorn who potted the puck into the open net before the Wings’ goalie could get back to the crease.
It’s the third time in Datsyuk’s career that he was held without a point in a playoff series. The other two times occurred at the start of his career – in the 2002 Stanley Cup finals against Carolina and the next season when Detroit was swept by Anaheim in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals.
TAMPA BAY 1, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. TBL, Killorn (Callahan), 18:17.
PENALTIES: 1. TBL, Killorn (cross-checking), 19:16.
SHOTS: Detroit 11 (34), Tampa Bay 10 (24).