Wings' advantage hasn't dimmed Tampa Bay confidence

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Wings goalies Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek hit the ice during practice Wednesday.

Detroit – Not surprisingly, the Red Wings expect Tampa Bay's best punch tonight.

With the Red Wings leading this best-of-seven series 2-1, and on the brink of taking control, they can't assume the Lightning will have an off-night similar to Game 3 when the Red Wings won 3-0.

Most Lightning players were disappointed with their performances, led by captain Steven Stamkos.

It would be surprising to see the Lightning off their game again.

"They want to be better and we know we have to be better," coach Mike Babcock said. "I'm sure they think I don't have to remind them, but I've reminded them for two straight days and I'll remind them (before tonight's game)."

The Lightning's confidence, said coach Jon Cooper, hasn't been affected by the start of this series.

"We're in pretty good spirits actually, given the scenario," Cooper said. "When you look at the tape, some of the (offensive) chances we've missed can leave you scratching your head a little bit.

"That group in there, they're not lacking confidence, I know that."

The Lighting want to finish scoring opportunities. Twice during a power play in Game 3, the Lightning hit either a goal post or crossbar, inches from changing the tone of that game.

Tampa Bay also outshot the Red Wings 46-14 in Game 1, only to see the Red Wings and goalie Petr Mrazek swipe a 3-2 victory.

For the Red Wings it's a matter of staying out of the penalty box. In their two victories, the Red Wings have tested fate by giving the Lightning 13 power plays; the Wings have killed them all.

"We're on the penalty kill way too much, we have to stay out of the box, that's crazy," Babcock said. "To test it each night with six or seven is crazy."