The Detroit Red Wings are expecting to see a familiar face return to their lineup when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Justin Abdelkader, who scored 10 goals during a 13-game stretch in March and finished with 23 this season, is in line to make his first appearance in the series after injuring his right hand while blocking a shot versus Minnesota on April 4.
Petr Mrazek followed his dazzling 44-save performance in a 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Thursday by yielding four goals on 18 shots in a 5-1 setback two days later. Mrazek has been confirmed to start Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, which was the venue in which the netminder turned aside 24 shots in a 4-0 triumph over the Lightning on March 28. Although Tampa Bay posted a 4-3 shootout win in Detroit on Nov. 9, it is just 4-15-0 with one tie all-time in Michigan.
"Joe Louis Arena is a fun place to play, and there's so much history wrapped up in that building," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But you have to put those things aside and focus on playing the right way and trying to get out of there with a win."
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ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Nikita Nesterov scored in the series opener before notching two assists on Saturday as Tampa Bay recorded its first postseason victory since 2011. The defenseman is riding a five-game point streak dating to the regular season, collecting two goals and four assists during the run after mustering just one and three, respectively, in his first 24 career contests.
Tyler Johnson tallied twice in Game 2 after recording seven multi-goal performances in the regular season.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS: Coach Mike Babcock told reporters defenseman Brendan Smith will return to the lineup after being scratched since making a mental error against Montreal on April 9.
"Tampa is a high-speed skating team, and when Smith plays, he can really skate with the puck, and he can keep up with their forwards," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I think he's a good fit for the series."
Smith sat out the regular-season finale and then saw rookie Alexey Marchenko play in his place to begin the series.
1. Tampa Bay is 2-for-11 on the power play while Detroit is just 1-for-7 in the series. The Red Wings finished with the league's second-best success rate with the man advantage at 23.8 percent.
2. Detroit D Kyle Quincey has notched an assist in each of the first two contests of the series.
3. Lightning D Jason Garrison is expected to miss his ninth straight game after being hit into the boards by Abdelkader on March 28.