TAMPA, Fla. — Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and Petr Mrazek had 44 saves in his NHL playoff debut to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series Thursday night.
Datsyuk scored on two of the first four shots the Red Wings got against Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop. Luke Glendening’s short-handed goal gave Detroit a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
Mrazek, named Detroit’s starter for Game 1 over veteran Jimmy Howard, gave up a short-handed goal to Brian Boyle in the first period and a late goal to Nikita Nesterov that enabled the Lightning to pull within 3-2.
Tampa Bay outshot the Red Wings 46-14, but went 0 for 7 on the power play — failing to even get a shot off on the final opportunity in the closing seconds.
It’s a nice start to the playoffs for the Red Wings, who are making their 24th consecutive appearance but haven’t advanced beyond the second round since 2009.
For Tampa Bay, it’s the second straight season they’ve dropped their opener in the first round at home. The Lightning also lost Game 2 at home on the way to being swept by Montreal a year ago.
Game 2 of this best-of-7 matchup is Saturday in Tampa.
The Lightning were the league’s highest-scoring team while setting franchise records with 50 wins, 108 points and an NHL-best 32 victories at home. They won three of four against the Red Wings during the regular season, scoring five goals on 15 shots against Mrazek in a home victory on Jan. 29 but losing 4-0 when they faced the young goalie again in Detroit on March 28. That’s the only time Tampa Bay’s potent offence has been shut out this season.
Datsyuk’s 40th career playoff goal came on Detroit’s first shot of the game, but the Red Wings wasted an opportunity to put additional pressure on Bishop when Marek Zidlicky turned the puck over to Boyle, and the Lightning centre skated in on Mrazek alone for an unassisted short-hand goal that made it 1-1 late in the opening period. It remained even when Bishop got a glove on Drew Miller’s short-handed shot during Tampa Bay’s first power-play opportunity.
Datsyuk scored again just 8 seconds into the second period, with Darren Helm getting his second assist of the night on the power-play goal.
The Lightning outshot the Red Wings 27-10 in the first two periods, but had little to show for it. Their persistence finally paid off after Glendening’s short-handed goal on a back-hand shot from in front of Bishop lifted the Red Wings into a 3-1 lead.
Nesterov’s goal made it interesting, but Mrazek handled everything Tampa Bay threw at him in the closing minutes to hold on.
Bishop finished with 11 saves in his NHL playoff debut.
NOTES: It’s the first playoff series between the Red Wings and Lightning. … Detroit LW Justin Abdelkader took part in the morning skate, but missed his fifth straight game with a hand injury. … Tampa Bay D Braydon Coburn (14 games, lower body), D Andrej Sustr (six games, upper body) and C Alex Killorn (three games, undisclosed) returned after being sidelined down the stretch with injuries. D Jason Garrison (upper body) is practicing and is day to day. … Lightning rookie LW Jonathan Drouin, taken third overall in the 2013 draft, was a healthy scratch.
Fred Goodall, The Associated Press