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.