Yeah, Mike Babcock made the right goaltending choice tonight.
Some wondered if Jimmy Howard might step back into the Detroit Red Wings net for Game 3 after the Tampa Bay Lightning tied up their first-round series, but Babcock stuck with Petr Mrazek. That decision paid off handsomely on Tuesday, as Detroit topped Tampa Bay 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Red Wings didn’t call upon Mrazek anywhere near as much as they did in Game 1, when the young goalie stopped 44 out of 46 shots to steal a win for Detroit.
That doesn’t mean he could lean back and read a book in net, mind you, as the Lightning still managed some nice chances when they weren’t tripping over their own feet. This Brian Boyle breakaway could have been a turning point if Mrazek didn’t come up with a stop (and then a drop):
On paper, the Red Wings stack up decently against the Lightning in “The Yzerman Cup,” yet there were moments in Tampa Bay when Detroit seemed to strain a bit to keep up.
That feeling largely dissipated at Joe Louis Arena, however, as the Red Wings kept the Bolts’ often-dangerous attack under wraps.
Some of those struggles were on the Lightning themselves, though. Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a golden opportunity in which they received almost a minute of 5-on-3 time. Far too many pucks were flubbed by point QB’s and forwards, so the Lightning ended up empty.
All of a sudden, the questions start to emerge about Jon Cooper’s group converting potential into playoff results as the veteran group grabs the series edge.