Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Min-Preview- Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 5

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.

continued

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

So if someone had told the Red Wings 10 days ago they'd be in this position, would they have taken it?

To be tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven series against Tampa Bay, with two of the three games left at Tampa?

And coming off a shocking 3-2 loss in Game 4 to the Lightning?

Know what? They would have taken being in this position.

"We'd take it 10 times out of 10," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "It was a tough break in overtime, one of those things.

"A lot of people never saw us being in this position. We're confident in our group and we're confident going into Saturday."

Game 5 in Tampa on Saturday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit, CBC, 97.1) begins what amounts to a three-game series.

Each team feels like it has stolen one game in the other team's rink.

Each team feels it's had great moments of hockey in this series, and some not so great.

But the importance of each game is magnified from here on, with the Red Wings heading into these crucial games trying to forget Thursday's nightmare.

continued

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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com