Game 5 Morning Skate - Gut Check Time
Series tied 2-2
6:00p ET, Amalie Arena
TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NBCSN, CBC, Sun Sports
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Lightning Blog: Raw Charge
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)|
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)|
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.
|BEN BISHOP||THE GOALIE MATCH-UP||PETR MRAZEK|
|170 Reg. 4 Playoff||Games Played||40 Reg. 4 Playoff|
|LIGHTNING||THE SERIES MATCH-UP||RED WINGS|
|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/