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Game 5 Morning Skate – Gut Check Time

6:00p ET, Amalie Arena

Tampa, FL

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NBCSN, CBC, Sun Sports

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Five minutes.

That’s it. Just five minutes. Five minutes away from a stranglehold on this series. The opportunity was there.

I could see it.

You could see it.

The players could see it.

A 3-1 series lead was in sight. And then just like that… it was gone.


Gone in the blink of an eye. Dust in the wind. It was a swift kick to the nether regions and we have ourselves a 2-2 series.

I’m still down after that loss. Quite frankly, I believe that the Red Wings HAD to win that game. They HAD to go up 3-1 or else their shot at winning the series was over. Tampa is the better team. You can’t miss opportunities like that.

Do I still believe it? Yeah, a little bit. Do I think the Red Wings players believe that? Nope. Not one bit. Not as long as Mike Babcock is coaching this team. Here’s what he said to Khan(!) after the Game 4 collapse:

“I never talk to the guys after a game, ever, but tonight I talked to them just about that,” Babcock said following the game. “I really believe in a couple of things – if you think you can, you can. Second thing is I believe we stole Game 1 and they stole this game.

So to me, it should be 2-2. Here it is, a best-of-three, let’s play. We can feel sorry for ourselves on the flight to Tampa and then let’s get regrouped and get going.”

After reading those quotes, the first thing that came to mind was the movie Rocky Balboa. Whether you liked that movie or not, Rocky had a great motivational speech to his kid. It applies quite nicely to the Red Wings situation.

The Wings have taken their hit from the Lightning… and it was sure as hell a hard it to take. Now they keep moving. They keep moving forward.

It’s on to Game 5. It’s a race to two. Get there the fastest.

Gut check time.

The Expected Lineups


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


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


Petr Mrazek (starting)
Jimmy Howard

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

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


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


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


Ben Bishop (starting)
Andrei Vasilevskiy

Line Matchups

Goal scoring in this series has been pretty even. Detroit has scored 9 goals and Tampa has 10. The Wings seem to be getting a decent balance of their scoring among all four lines. Tampa, meanwhile, has gotten half their goals from their Triplet Line. Tyler Johnson leading the charge with 4 of their 5 goals. The most alarming thing for me though… the Red Wings defensemen. Not a single goal among them. They’re not really a high scoring group. We know that, sure, but I’d like to see Niklas Kronwall or Marek Zidlicky get on the board on the power play.


28 Age 23
170 Reg. 4 Playoff Games Played 40 Reg. 4 Playoff
2.01 Series GAA 2.43
.902 Series SV% .922
82 Shots Faced 115
73 Saves Made 105

2 Wins 2
2.50 (10 goals total) Goals Per Game 2.25 (9 goals total)
2.50 Goals Against Per Game 2.33
9.5% Power Play % 13.3%
86.7% Penalty Kill % 90.5%
Tyler Johnson (4 goals) Goal Leader Datsyuk & Glendening (2 goals)
Tyler Johnson (5 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (3 points)

  • Luke Glendening will play in this game and he STILL has more goals in this series than Valtteri Filppula/

Let’s Go Red Wings.

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