Abel to Yzerman
And maybe the theme song for the night...
Game 7 starts just after 7:30pm...
from Brian Hunter of NHL.com,
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2, FS-D, SUN
Best-of-7 series is tied 3-3
Home ice hasn't provided much of an advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings. But the Lightning get one more chance to show their NHL-best 32 home wins during the regular season weren't a mirage.
The Lightning host the Red Wings in Game 7 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to play the Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens.
Detroit will be without defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was suspended one game Tuesday by the NHL Department of Player Safety for charging against Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov late in the second period of Game 6.
In avoiding elimination with a 5-2 win Monday at Joe Louis Arena, the Lightning continued a trend that has seen the road team win each of the past three games and four of six in the series.
"Our big victory in Game 6 means nothing if we don't pull out Game 7," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said after practice Tuesday.
The Lightning last played a Game 7 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, when they lost 1-0 to the Boston Bruins. Their most recent Game 7 on home ice was a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final for the franchise's lone championship.
The Red Wings played Game 7 on the road in back-to-back rounds in 2013, defeating the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals and losing 3-2 in overtime to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the conference semifinals.
from Bryan Burns of the Tampa Bay Lightning website,
Even after getting assaulted by Kronwall, Kucherov didn’t let it affect his play. He left the game briefly to get checked out in the locker room and came back out on the ice in the third to help the Bolts preserve the victory.
Kronwall may have had a brief moment of satisfaction from his hard hit.
Kucherov got the last laugh.
more on game 6...
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'"
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: email@example.com