Dominant Performance Ends in Loss for Lightning
April 17, 2015
In the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens. One year later, the Lightning are back and looking for redemption. It started last night at Amalie Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, a game that Tampa Bay dominated only to lose 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Lightning outshot Detroit, 46-14, and had seven power play opportunities but could not convert any of them. Ben Bishop, in his playoff debut, wasn’t tested much as Tampa Bay controlled the puck for most of the game. His counterpart, rookie Petr Mrazek, shined in his playoff debut, stopping 44 of the 46 shots he faced.
“We had some good looks,” said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper. “Give Mrazek some credit, kid played well tonight.”
Early on, the Lightning were flying down the ice, out-hustling and utterly manhandling the Red Wings. However, Detroit picked up the first goal at 9:03 of the first when Pavel Datsyuk tipped Kyle Quincey’s shot past Bishop.
Just 5:28 later, with the Red Wings on the power play, Brian Boyle poked the puck away and raced down the ice to beat Mrazek stickside for the game-tying, shorthanded goal.
Datsyuk scored eight seconds into the second to give the Wings a lead that they would never relinquish. Despite the 2-1 deficit, Tampa Bay continued to control puck possession, outshooting Detroit 17-7 in the second before Luke Glendening’s shorthanded goal at 5:50 of the third extended his team’s lead to 3-1. The goal was not one of Bishop’s finer moments, but his head coach has no worries about him for the rest of the series.
“I don’t worry about that kid,” said Cooper. “He’s been a gamer for us all year. We needed to give him a little bit more help.”
Rookie defenseman Nikita Nesterov cut the deficit to 3-2 at 8:26 of the third and momentum was clearly on Tampa Bay’s side, but Mrazek turned away everything until the clock struck zero.
“Petr really saved us tonight,” said Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg.
The Lightning led in almost every aspect of the game except for the final score. They left the ice with mixed feelings of disappointment and determination to rebound in Game 2.
“It puts a little more pressure on us,” said Cooper. “But, in saying that, if we can play the way we did tonight and we continue to play that way through the series, I’ll take our chances.”
Tampa Bay’s chance to rebound comes on Saturday at Amalie Arena. Puck drop is set for 3.
Bailey Adams is an 18-year-old senior at Robinson. He started writing about sports in May of 2013 before joining the RHS journalism staff later in the...