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Detroit — Everyone is supposed to play defense in hockey — goaltenders, defensemen and forwards.

Since Scotty Bowman showed up in the mid-1990s and persuaded them an offensively-gifted team defense finally would win a Stanley Cup, the Red Wings forwards have been required to play a "200-foot game."

The dividend is that good defense jump-starts the Wings offense through their vaunted transition game, which has been missing for much of the first two games of the first-round series against the Lightning.

Beyond a rudimentary I've got my man sort of defense, there are deployment schemes and areas of responsibility for each player.

At a few critical junctures against the Lightning in Game 2, the Red Wings' execution failed.

It is the main reason they generally played better than in the victory in Game 1, and still managed to lose.

And it had less to do with desire or intensity than a simple matter of Duh!

"There was a few mistakes that we did that really cost us," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "So, we've obviously been talking about that.

"We had a good meeting today and we went through a few (things) and had a good practice and we feel like we're ready to go."

The defensive zone breakdowns included missed assignments that too often left Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard to fend for themselves in net.

The Lightning got more shots in Game 1. But the deployment of a tight cluster of defenders in front of Petr Mrazek helped the Red Wings steal the game.

In Game 2, the cluster was gone.

It was as if the forwards on the highest scoring team during the regular season had the dance floor to themselves far too often.

They were also too many times the Lightning was allowed to absolutely fly through the neutral zone and swoop down on the unsettled defense and unsupported goaltenders.

"I will say that none of the goals were faults on them," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of Jimmy Howard and Mrazek. "We made some big mistakes and they were hung out to dry. So, we've got to do a better job in front of them."

In addition to the preparation Monday morning under Babcock, who is lauded universally for that element of his coaching, some reinforcements are going into the lineup for Game 3 tonight.

Brendan Smith, a healthy scratch since an ill-advised play against the Canadiens on April 9, is back.

So is Justin Abdelkader, whose hand continues to heal.

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All three players will be in for Game 3 against the Lightning, coach says.

Although the Wings think highly of rookie Alexey Marchenko, playing him in two playoff games after only 14 NHL games (and 49 in the AHL) was a bit too much to ask of the 23-year-old, even though he played 82 in the KHL for Moscow (2009-13).

Smith is likely to be reunited with Marek Zidlicky, a pairing that mostly gelled when the 38-year-old defenseman joined the Wings at the trade deadline.

That allows Danny Dekeyser and Kyle Quincey to play together as they have throughout the season. Familiarity often pays dividends in the playoffs when the action is quicker and often considerably crisper.

Of his decision on Smith, Babcock said, "I just think he can really skate and competes."

"I don't think we're skating good enough. I don't think we're competing hard enough."

Asked how he felt to be a healthy scratch in the playoffs, after playing regularly for two-and-a-half seasons, Smith merely repeated the question.

"What's it been like?" he said.

Sitting and watching Game 2, Smith viewed the mistakes as a player trained not to make them — and who has made fewer of them with experience.

"I think coach came up with a game plan, and we're going to try to stick to it," Smith said. "I think that's the plan.

"Whoever is a black ace is trying to play," he said, using the hockey term for those not playing in the playoffs. "So, all I do is just listen to our systems and, when I get the call, I'll be able to get in there and play as hard as I can."

Abdelkader's time on ice is clearly an offensive boost, given his fine play with Zetterberg and 23 goals this season. But, as importantly, it also allows Babcock to readjust his lines for better match-ups against the Lightning.

In Game 2, Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg skated against the Lightning's young scoring line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kuckerov and Ondrej Palat.

That left Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist to defend the Lightning's older scoring line of Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn.

"I just felt Callahan, Killorn and Stamkos got a free ride in their building," Babcock said.

"So putting Zetterberg back in the middle with a winger now, a guy who can skate, I think helps.

"The thing I would say about our team is that we've got a lot more to give. ... We need everyone on deck."

gregg.krupa@detroitnews.com

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