The bad news for the Detroit Red Wings is they’ve been pretty badly outplayed by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The good news is they’re back home for tonight’s Game 3, armed with a split in their first-round series with the favored Bolts.
“Anytime you start a series on the road, your goal is to try to get one,” forward Justin Abdelkader said, per NHL.com. “We did a good job of that. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. At the same time, coming back home we can come out and get that first 10 minutes and start like they had in their building and get our crowd going and into it.”
The Wings were outshot by a combined margin of 76-38 in Games 1 and 2. Possession-wise, there hasn’t been a more uneven first-round series, with the Lightning having taken 56.2 percent of all shot attempts.
Abdelkader, by the way, will make his series debut tonight.
The Detroit Red Wings are back at home, and returning a key piece of the lineup.
Justin Abdelkader, who missed the first two games of the playoffs with a hand injury, will draw back in for tomorrow’s Game 3 at the Joe when the Wings host the Lightning with the series tied 1-1.
Getting Abdelkader back will be a big boost for Detroit, especially after getting spanked 5-1 in Game 2. The 28-year-old scored a career-high 23 goals this season and averaged just under 18 minutes per night — 17:55, also a personal best — and, what’s more, has a wealth of playoff experience with 54 games on his resume.
Based on this morning’s skate, Abdelkader will play on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, which allows Pavel Datsyuk to center a unit featuring Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar. Abdelkader was also in his familiar spot in front of the net on the power play, where he scored eight times this season.
It looks as though veteran Stephen Weiss will be dropped from the lineup to make room.
After a six game absence the Detroit Red Wings expect to have forward Justin Abdelkader in the lineup for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Abdelkader has missed the first two games of the series with an injured right hand.
“We’ll be fortunate we’ll get Abby back next game, so we’ll be able to move people around and put us in a little better situation that way, better matchups,” said Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock following Saturday’s 5-1 loss.
The 28-year-old had 23 goals and 44 points in 71 regular season games prior to being sidelined.
Related: Babcock to go with Mrazek for Game 3