TAMPA, Fla. – After posting franchise bests with 50 wins and 108 points this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their run of misfortune in the playoffs by falling in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Lightning look to snap a six-game postseason skid and even their set at one victory apiece when they host the Atlantic Division rival Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC (Postgame on Local 4 with Mickey Redmond)
"We'll be ready," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "We'll be swinging for the fences (Saturday), and we'll see what happens."
The Lightning pretty much did exactly that in Game 1, unleashing a staggering 46 shots only to be thwarted by a goaltender that was making his postseason debut. Petr Mrazek stopped a career-high 44 of those in Detroit's 3-2 triumph on Thursday, becoming the fifth netminder in franchise history to win his first career appearance - joining Johnny Mowers (1941), Glenn Hall (1956), Bob Champoux (1964) and Chris Osgood (1994). Pavel Datsyuk recorded his sixth career multi-goal postseason performance on Thursday - and first since April 27, 2010 - while Luke Glendening also tallied in the win.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS: Detroit found itself short-handed an alarming seven times in Game 1, a situation that coach Mike Babcock hopes to remedy if the team looks to head back to Joe Louis Arena with a 2-0 advantage in the series.
"We had to use our PK for 14 minutes and that doesn't leave a lot of ice time for your fourth line to get out there," Babcock said. "That was among the several things we have to clean up (Saturday)."
Justin Abdelkader will miss Game 2 with a hand injury, as Babcock told reporters that no changes to the lineup were expected.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Brian Boyle scored a short-handed goal for the second time in as many postseason contests, with his last coming in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup final while playing for the New York Rangers. Boyle certainly has a knack for converting in such situations, as he led the Lightning with three short-handed tallies in the regular season. Defenseman Nikita Nesterov also tallied on Thursday while making his playoff debut.
1. Tampa Bay's six-game playoff losing skid includes a Game 7 loss to Boston in the 2011 Eastern Conference final as well as a first-round sweep by Montreal last year.
2. Detroit C Darren Helm (two assists) recorded his first career multi-point performance in the postseason and registered a team-leading four shots on goal in the series opener.
3. Lightning D Jason Garrison is expected to miss Game 2 as he nurses an upper-body injury that has sidelined him since March 28.