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Game 4 Morning Skate: Say No To Splits

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Detroit Leads The Series 2-1

Leon Halip/Getty Images

7:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit ,MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, CBC, NBCSN, TVA, Fox Sports Florida

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

The Wings played their best game yet Tuesday night and were rewarded with a 2-1 series lead. The win was exciting and thrilling and satisfying, and it's easy to get swept up in the high. That's all behind us now however and tonight is going to be the toughest game yet. Tampa is a darn good team and they're going to have extra motivation to play hard, dirty, and try to redeem themselves. Jeff Blashill preaches something in Grand Rapids that I've been thinking about the last couple days. No matter what happens, wins or losses, you can't let yourself get too high nor too low. The Wings are going to have to make a concerted effort not to let themselves relax or get comfortable with the series lead, because if they relax or back off even a tiny amount, the Lightning will even this series.

There's a significant difference between taking a 3-1 series lead and heading back to Tampa tied 2-2, this could be the tipping point in the series. Of course we could lose this game and still win the series, but It's much tougher that way and our chances of winning the series significantly decrease. Wings have to be mentally and physically sharp, get pissed off and ornery before the game, and be prepared to handle Tampa's sneaky dirty crap. The Wings have 13.3 PIM/Gm so far (4th highest in the playoffs) and they need to cut that down. Play smarter, be sneakier if you're going to do something technically against the rules, and for the love of the hockey gods, don't take any more too many men penalties.

Steven Stamkos hasn't been much of a factor yet in this series, but he's a very good player and if he decides to become a factor, the Wings will have their hands full. I don't know if he's in a funk, or if we've just been good at containing him, or if he's hurt, or what's going on, but he's taking penalties, and his ice time is uncharacteristically decreasing (Gm1 20:00, Gm2 14:40, Gm3 16:47). Watch out for Stamkos. We also haven't seen Jonathan Drouin play yet, and if John Cooper isn't satisfied with his team or  he thinks they need a shake up, he could put Drouin in.

Be aggressive, be ornery, be relentless. We have Abby back and that's a huge boost to the team. Petr Mrazek had a great bounce back game but we need him to be consistently great and two great games in a row are needed. The Wings can win this game.

Our father who art in the Joe. Hockey be thy name. Thy will be done. The cup will be won. On ice, as well as in the stands. Give us this day our hockey sticks. And forgive us our penalties as we forgive those who cross-check against us Lead us not into elimination. But deliver us to victory. In the name of the fans, Lord Stanley, and in the name of the Wings. Amen

The Expected Lineups

Forwards

Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Gustav Nyquist
Darren Helm Pavel Datsyuk Tomas Tatar
Joakim Andersson Riley Sheahan Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Landon Ferraro

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brendan Smith Marek Zidlicky

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek
Jimmy Howard

Scratches: Jakub Kindl, Danny Cleary & Stephen Weiss, Alexey Marchenko, Teemu Pulkkinen

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion) Jonas Gustavsson (concussion), Erik Cole (neck)

Forwards

Alex Killorn Steven Stamkos Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat Tyler Johnson Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov Valtteri Filppula Cedric Pacquette
Brenden Morrow Brian Boyle J.T. Brown


Defensemen

Victor Hedman Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov Anton Stralman
Matt Carle Braydon Coburn


Goaltenders

Ben Bishop
Andrei Vasilevskiy

Line Matchups

Since both teams have scored a total of 7 goals, we get wonderfully comparable percentages of goals by line. So far in the series, the Lightning have had more depth scoring with every forward line and one defensive pairing contributing goals. The Wings have only received goals from three of their forward lines so far but Nyquist, Zetterberg and Abdelkader are all due and playing like they want to score goals.


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These are the line matchups Babcock used in game 3 at home, using only 5on5 and score adjusted statistics. I'd like to see Sheahan's line be better and get going, and Glendening's line looks absolutely woof, but they're also going up against much better players and that's not going to change so I give up. *throws hands up* whatever.


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Let's take a look at the defensemen. All stats here are at 5on5. The first thing that jumped out at me was that Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko have had the toughest zone starts and quality of competition of any Wings defensemen, including Kronwall and Ericsson. Babcock chose to sit Marchenko and bring Smith in for game 3 and I questioned that decision. Smith played pretty well, but he's also way more sheltered than Marchenko was so it's hard to say "Smith was better" or to justify Marchenko being benched. I'm left to assume that Babcock put Marchenko on the 2nd line with DeKeyser because he didn't want 2 right handed shots on the same pairing, so he refused to put Marchenko and Zidlicky together. Some further context for the results we see: Quincey spent the first 2 games on the 3rd pairing with Zidlicky so his zone starts are more favorable than usual, but he's been pretty darn good.


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BEN BISHOP THE GOALIE MATCH-UP PETR MRAZEK
28 Age 23
170 Reg. 3 Playoff Games Played 40 Reg. 3 Playoff
2.03 Series GAA 2.25
.897 Series SV% .930
58 Shots Faced 86
52 Saves Made 80



LIGHTNING THE SERIES MATCH-UP RED WINGS
1 Wins 2
2.33 (7 goals total) Goals Per Game 2.33 (7 goals total)
2.33 Goals Against Per Game 2.33
11.8% Power Play % 18.2%
81.8% Penalty Kill % 88.2%
Tyler Johnson (2 goals) Goal Leader Datsyuk & Glendening (2 goals)
Nikita Nesterov (3 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (3 points)

  • Luke Glendening has more goals in this series than Valtteri Filppula

    LET'S GO RED WINGS!!!