Abel to Yzerman
from Keith Gave of FoxSports Detroit,
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had one simple question for his players Monday night after they failed to clinch this first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series with Tampa Bay.
"If I'd have told you before the series started that we could play in a Game 7 at Tampa, would you have taken it?" he asked them.
Of course they would.
"They would have jumped at the opportunity," Babcock said.
And now they get that chance after a 5-2 loss in Game 6 that was much closer than the final score indicates.
So instead of getting a much-welcomed day off and a little break between series, the Wings make their third trip south to Florida for a best-of-seven series that has become a best-of-one. Face-off is at 7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Detroit.
Winners advances to play Montreal. Losers pack it in for a longer summer than they wanted.
Except they're not.
More on that in a minute.
For the moment, somebody better be counting the cash. Lots of it. 5, 6, 7 million dollars of it. Per year.
Relaxed, nervous, time moving slowly?
Me, except for the server issue earlier today, I am a bit more relaxed than normal but time is moving slowly.
Hurry up puck drop!
Puck drops just after 7:00pm ET.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
TV: CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-D
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."
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
Standing on the fourth floor of the team hotel Sunday afternoon, moments after a 35-minute meeting, Lightning forward Brian Boyle said, "We know what is at stake."
Teammate and defenseman Victor Hedman, just a few feet away and wearing his Rays cap backward, said, "(Tonight) is the biggest game of the season."
Both are absolutely right. A lot is at stake tonight when the Lightning plays the Red Wings in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. And of course it is the biggest game of the season for Tampa Bay, which trails the best-of-seven series three games to two.
Yet, Boyle and Hedman had no idea that their strong words really didn't encompass everything that is at stake in this biggest game of the season. Not only would a Lightning loss end what has been a terrific season, it would do even more damage than that.
Reputations are on the line. Legacies are at stake. Maybe even futures would be brought into question.
If the Lightning goes away as meekly tonight as it did in paralyzing shutout losses in Games 3 and 5, some key Lightning faces will take a major hit.
via Katie Strang tweets,
DET's Henrik Zetterberg on goaltender Petr Mrazek: "He plays with confidence and he gives us confidence.
"Mike Babcock, asked about team's ability to neutralize Stamkos: "We're not playing Stammer, we're playing Tampa Bay."
#TBL #DET Victor Hedman on facing an elimination game vs. Wings: "I'm not worried about this group at all. We know we can do it."
via Joe Smith tweets,
At tday's team meeting, a few #tblightning players who have overcome 3-1, 3-2 series deficits spoke up. Said Hedman: "We know we can do it."
Cooper: "We've been together nine months now. This is as good a group as I've ever coached. Would be a shame for it all to end (Monday)."
Cooper said #redwings interfere more than any team in league: "The old saying if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying. They do it to a 'T'"
There is no recovery from this. We need to be very clear about that. You need to know that going in. Teams don't recover from losses like...that. Teams don't "bounce back" emotionally. They don't "put it behind them."
They don't. They can't. They will not.
It's important that you breathe and that you simply understand that simple fact.
Puck drops just after 6:00pm ET.
from Brian Hunter of NHL.com,
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-D, FS-F
Best-of-7 series is tied 2-2
Instead of attempting to avoid elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves with a chance to push the Detroit Red Wings to the brink when Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series takes place Saturday at Amalie Arena.
The Red Wings must put a potentially devastating Game 4 loss behind them and come up with an answer for Lightning forward Tyler Johnson.
Johnson, one-third of the "Triplets" line that includes Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, has a series-leading four goals. He started Tampa Bay's rally from down two goals with less than six minutes to play in Game 4 and finished it by scoring 2:25 into overtime for a 3-2 win.
"All we did was put ourselves back in the series. We didn't win the series," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Friday. "Clearly, [Game 5] is a pivotal game."
Despite the note of caution, the Lightning are in prime position at home, where they were an NHL-best 32-8-1 during the regular season and won 5-1 in Game 2 after losing Game 1 3-2.
"At this stage there aren't many surprises left," Lightning center Brian Boyle said. "We've seen their best and they've seen us play some good hockey too. It's all about who wants to do those little things and who can take advantage of the breaks."
The good news for Detroit is forward Luke Glendening will be available. Glendening's line has been matched against Johnson's, but Glendening left in the third period of Game 4 because of a hand injury and Johnson scored twice and set up Palat for the tying goal. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Friday that Glendening will play in Game 5.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
About Abel to Yzerman
Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org