Abel to Yzerman
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,
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Just like that, the series took a completely different turn. The Lightning celebrated in the corner, the Red Wings headed to their dressing room, stunned at what just happened. They went from having a stranglehold on the series to a series now locked up at 2-2.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock doesn’t typically address his team after games, but he did this time. He felt the Red Wings stole Game 1 in Tampa Bay. He felt the opposite in Game 4. This one was stolen from the Red Wings and in the process, this series was exactly where Babcock thought it should be -- even at two.
“Here it is, it’s the best of three,” Babcock said. “Let’s play. ... Let’s get up and get regrouped and get on with it.”
more on last night's game...
I don't like to talk about the Blackhawk series. That one damaged me. Fortunately for me, I believe it damaged one Hank Zetterberg worse. I believe that one hurt worse than any other.
I say fortunately, because I think the pain of that series is what will keep the Wings from losing this one.
George Malik put together a full look at tonight's Wings/Lightning game at The Malik Report.
We know the Tampa Bay Lightning will come out tonight trying to create more offense and the Detroit Red Wings will need to match or even improve their play from game 3.
The power play may be the key tonight for both teams.
It should be a high intensity game, one which will keep us on the edge of our seats.
We all know the recent history of Petr Mrazek, good game, bad game, good game.
So what do you expect from him on Thursday night and has anything changed regarding your opinion of his play.
Jamie McLennan of TSN on his review of Mrazek last night...
Mrazek had an outstanding bounce back game, looking sharp against Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Brian Boyle - who he robbed on a breakaway. He played with confidence and poise and his crease management was better as it was not as aggressive and he didn't overplay pucks.
Game Three of the first round, and all tied up at one win a piece. How many saw that coming? At least 19 of us saw that coming. Right? We had to make the post season, cause that is the only way to "get in" in order to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Well, here we are, and the Cup Champs and the former President's Trophy winners are where right now? They are out. Gone.
The plan, the goal, is always to go all the way to the final. But first, you have to make the Playoffs.
Well, here we are.
Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!
The puck drops tonight just after 7:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, FS-F, FS-D.
The Malik Report has a great preview of tonight's game so let's concentrate on scoring...
Detroit needs better, overall play in many departments but I truly feel more offensive pressure will lead to better defensive coverage tonight.
Detroit needs some goals from some unexpected players, just like in years past.
"Your second tier players must play well if you're to win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs" - Gary Thorne at the halfway point in the video below.
Every Goal by Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joey Kocur from the 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
John Forslund files a practice report from the JLA.
from Keith Gave of FoxSports Detroit,
If your coach has lost faith in your very expensive No. 1 goalie, it makes it that much more difficult to deal him to another team. And at least trying to find a new home for Howard in the offseason is looking increasingly inevitable if he can't find a way to wrest his job back from Mrazek and then start winning again.
As much as I admire Babcock's snap call to start Mrazek, this might have been the time to take a moment and have a discussion with his GM. All things considered, the Wings' chance with either goaltender is a bit of a coin flip. Why not give Howard a shot when the series returns home, where he's more comfortable? Why the rush to make a call that clearly devalues an asset?
Here's why: Babcock wants to win, and maybe he needs to win because some are beginning to question his resume a bit with a postseason slump entering its fifth straight spring. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, he could be gone in 10 days or six weeks, depending on how his team does. And if that's the case, he could care less about Howard's future in or out of Detroit.
It's Holland who will be left holding onto a damaged talent. There's not much of a marked for a $5 million backup goaltender these days. That's a significant downside to the coach's call in these playoffs.
12 years and 8 days ago the Red Wings, opening their defense of the Stanley Cup, put up 64 shots on Jean-Sebastian Giguere. 1 got by him. His coach at the time is, ironically, sure to be courted soon by that very lone goal scorer, Brendan Shanahan.
The Wings outshot Anaheim by 20 that night, by 13 the next, by 11 in Game 3 and 7 in Game 4. Detroit owned a 51-shot advantage and got swept by a Mike Babcock coached team.
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