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Blashill’s message to Wings: ‘Series isn’t over’

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Red Wings and Lightning players mix it up near the end of Friday night's Game 2.

Detroit – The Red Wings have returned home to the old saying about the Stanley Cup playoffs that nothing happens in a series until a team wins on the road.

Having failed twice to do it in Tampa, the Wings nonetheless believe they have been close to victory. A few better plays both with the puck and without the puck have allowed the Lightning to build a 2-0 led in the series.

But the Red Wings think they can use the same recipe to turn things at home.

“We lost two games that I would say were very winnable and close,” coach Jeff Blashill said Saturday after practice. “We’ve got to find a way to turn the tide in our favor in this next game.

“It’s going to be a hard game. They’re going to come out and play real well.

“We’ve got to make sure we make one or two plays offensively and defensively better than they do.

“Each team is trying to win four games as fast as they can. We’ve got to win our first one here tomorrow. That’s our focus.”

The Red Wings have lost 3-2 and 5-2 in the first two games in Tampa. Game 3 is 7 p.m. Sunday in Joe Louis Arena.

Krupa: Wings undisciplined, frustrated

Blashill would not reveal his lineup, after an optional practice that involved goalie Petr Mrazek, defenseman Brendan Smith, forwards Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller.

Nyquist is the only one currently playing regularly.

Mrazek has not played a full game since March 24. Smith and Pulkkinen have been healthy scratches. Miller is unavailable, after knee surgery.

Asked about what he will tell the team, Blashill said, “My message will be to focus on winning the hockey game tomorrow.

“We want to learn from mistakes we’ve made. We want to accentuate the positives we’ve had. That’s it.

“The series isn’t over after two games.”

Chippiness escalates in Wings-Lightning Game 2

Justin Abdelkader said despite the physical nature of the series so far, he is not expecting much carryover from the wild scene at the end of Game 2, when players essentially paired off in a significant melee.

Having arrived to assist Brad Richards, who was in a tough position, Abdelkader said he found himself at the bottom of a pile after being jumped from behind.

Able to extricate himself, he began delivering repeated punches at will.

“I think lots of emotions run high in the playoffs, at the end of a game there,” he said. “It’s been a physical series. I think each game kind of takes its own shape.

“I don’t expect anything else. I think both teams are focused on winning games.”