Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Lightning coach Jon Cooper talk about Detroit's Game 1 win.
Detroit — The Red Wings did not do very well.
But their fortitude and scoring plays by a highly appraised source, Pavel Datsyuk, and from a secondary offensive performer, Luke Glendening, allowed them to prevail.
The Wings stole their first game of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs from a team that is better "on paper," and which also played better than they did.
But these are the playoffs, and some individual performances, including by their young rookie goalie, Petr Mrazek, carried the day.
His Parents Called Him "Pasha."
Datsyuk was brilliant, scoring on the Red Wings first shot of the game several minutes in, redeeming a weak start that saw the Wings back on their heels and seeming to watch the Lightning play.
It was exactly what the Red Wings needed, a stellar performance and strong leadership by example from one of their big stars.
His tip of Kyle Quincey's shot from the blue line for the first goal was a masterpiece. Datsyuk handled it like the wizard of hockey that he is.
It was a huge lift for a team that looked in trouble in the first period.
And then, just eight seconds into the second, with Darren Helm pushing the puck and providing the speed on the play, Datsyuk converted a pass and provided the sort of finish the Wings needed, and for which any team outshot 12-4 at that point, would be desperate.
Hoping to establish a strong forecheck, possess the puck and play for long durations in the Lightning end, the Red Wings failed to accomplish that, and more, at the start of the first game of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.
It seemed less a matter of energy than of mystification.
They were passive observers, at times, while the Lightning carried the play.
The Wings were outshot 12-3 in the first period and 15-7 in the second, and only Datsyuk's fine goals held their chins above the roiling sea.
Too many men on the ice. Some needless interference, when all avoiding it took was staying out of the way.
Resorting to cross-checking and the line when they spend way too much time in their own zone.
The bad trend, now a couple of months old, continued for the Wings.
Uncharacteristically, the Red Wings were among the most penalized teams this season.
And they really did not clean it up, in their first playoff game.
It was particularly apparent as the Lightning continued to assert their attack in the third period, the Wings were continually in their own zone and they went to the box four straight times.
Mrazek mighty solid
The Wings "stole" Game 1, and there was no bigger felon than their rookie goalie.
He was not spectacular in his first start in the playoffs. But 23-year-old was more than up to the task of giving his team a shot at the win.
And he did it despite the Lightning descending upon him on waves, at times, in the first half of the game, including an odd-man rush on him in the opening moments.
Cool, calm and collected, more importantly, Mrazek was a master of the angles.
At times this year, he has gotten in trouble simply by setting up poorly, or waving at the occasional shot.
He did none of that, against best-scoring offense in the league.
An unexpected goal from the unheralded scorer put the Wings up 3-1 toward the start of the final period, and Luke Glendening was the hero.
Taking the puck as he killed one of the too many penalties, he headed down ice, contended with two defenders, did a 360 and flung the puck through goalie Ben Bishop, back-handed.
The Red Wings have had at least two noted shooters on the back hand in the last 50 years, Igor Larionov and Paul Henderson.
Add Glendening's name to the list.