Wings' Riley Sheahan finally breaks through in victory

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan, left, celebrates his third-period goal. It was Sheahan's first goal in the NHL playoffs.

Detroit — The Red Wings were waiting for Riley Sheahan to make an impact in this series.

The wait was worth it.

Sheahan scored his first NHL playoff goal (and point) in the third period, a key power-play goal which helped the Red Wings to Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Tampa Bay.

Sheahan converted a fine pass from Justin Abdelkader on the rush, Sheahan going to the net and sliding the puck past goalie Ben Bishop.

"It was unbelievable," Sheahan said of scoring his first playoff goal ."I can't really put the feeling into words. It was just good to help the team win. We have to keep this little streak going."

Sheahan centered a line with Joakim Andersson and Tomas Jurco that was competitive all game, had a tremendous shift in the Lightning zone early in the second period, and gave the Red Wings more depth and balance.

And it was different Sheahan primarily, with a goal, plus-1 rating, and two hits in 10 minutes 25 seconds.

"He had to play against (Steven) Stamkos the first two nights and didn't have to tonight," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's a real good player and anytime you don't play the way you want, your confidence can get shaken. He had some good opportunities and it was good to see him score a goal."

Road woes?

Best team in the NHL at home, but rather average on the road.

That was the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, who won 32 games at Amalie Arena, but were only 18-16-7 away from their home rink.

Losing Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena will not lessen the talk about the Lightning being an average road team (they won 32 games at home).

"We have won in just about every single building we have played in," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "There was a long history that we couldn't win in this building but in the last couple of years we have found ways to win here (a shootout victory early in this regular season).

"Are we a different team at home than on the road? I don't think so."

Cooper felt his team didn't get the bounces in Game 3.

"We had open nets that were an inch outside the post, so if you are ready for the cliché' game of inches, that's what I'm throwing at you," Cooper said. "We had to play from behind and they are a really good defensive team. They are well structured and play hard and we just couldn't find a way a way to put one in."

Ice chips

Babcock, on the penchant of goalie Petr Mrazek playing well in bounce-back games: "This bounce-back thing ... In the NHL, if you get known for bouncing back, you're usually not in the league because you can't have bad games (to bounce back). You've got play good every night."

... The Lightning continues to play without one of its top defenseman, Jason Garrison (upper body).

Garrison, hurt after a collision March 28, should return soon.

"He's not going to play (Game 3), but after that we're getting closer to a game-time decision," Cooper said.