Funny how we went into the Tampa Bay-Detroit series with all eyes on the Red Wings’ goaltending situation. After Petr Mrazek starred in Game 1, those eyes have suddenly turned their focus to the man in the Lightning net.
Suffice to say, Thursday was not a banner night for Ben Bishop. The 28-year-old — the same one who’s been called the Lightning’s “rock” — stopped just 11 of 14 shots in his NHL playoff debut, as the Bolts fell by a score of 3-2 despite outshooting the Wings 46-14.
“The first one, I didn’t see,” explained Bishop, per the Tampa Tribune. “The second one, I didn’t see. The third one, I take a step out to cut down the angle, and he cuts back to the middle and I’m trying to get back in the net.”
It was that third one, by Detroit’s Luke Glendening, that Bishop probably wanted back the most…
But hey, it was only one game.
“I thought the guys did a great job,” said Bishop. “Their goalie played well. We just didn’t get the bounces tonight. … If we play like that, we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”
There wasn’t a ton of outside optimism regarding Detroit’s chances going into the first round series. We are talking about a team that asked a 23-year-old goaltender with no playoff experience to face the best offensive team in the league. Playing netminder Petr Mrazek tonight was a reflection of starting goaltender Jimmy Howard’s recent fall from grace more than anything else, but it worked out as Detroit earned a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 1.
Mrazek, who had a career .891 save percentage against Tampa Bay in three contests going into this game, managed to save 44 of 46 shots for the Red Wings. Tampa Bay dominated from a shots perspective from start to finish and were particularly aggressive in the third, firing 19 shots. Without Mrazek’s strong performance, Detroit would not have won tonight.
He didn’t capture this one alone though. Pavel Datsyuk, who was by contrast playing in his 146th career postseason contest, made up for Detroit’s lack of shots on goal by beating Lightning netminder Ben Bishop twice. His second marker was scored just eight seconds into the second frame to give Detroit a 2-1 lead:
However it was ultimately 25-year-old Luke Glendening’s shorthanded spin-o-rama that resulted in the winner tonight:
Tampa Bay has now conceded the home ice advantage in this series to the Red Wings. That puts the pressure on the Lightning to respond on Saturday before this series returns to Detroit.
The Detroit Red Wings didn’t get a shot on goal until 9:03 minutes into Game 1 in their first round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thanks to Pavel Datsyuk’s work in front of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, one shot was all Detroit needed to take the early lead.
When Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan got sent to the sin bin roughly five minutes later due to a holding call, the Red Wings had an opportunity to give themselves some breathing room. Instead Brian Boyle got a big breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it, beating netminder Petr Mrazek one-on-one:
Pavel Datsyuk was assessed a minor penalty towards the end of the first period, which led to Red Wings forward Drew Miller getting his own shorthanded breakaway. Bishop managed to turn aside that shot though and the first period ended tied at 1-1.