The Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning will meet in the first round in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning will meet in round one of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. This will be a battle of old versus new. Both teams are very strong in terms of puck possession. The Red Wings are the best out of all the playoff teams in the eastern conference with 53.5 percent at even strength, but the Lightning are right behind them with 53.1 percent.
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This is the 24th consecutive year the Red Wings are heading to the playoffs. They’re easily one of the most experienced teams when it comes to the postseason. The team has a lot of strong veteran experience that will play a vital role. The Red Wings finished 43-26-13 with 99 points this regular season. Overall, they were average in terms of advanced stats, but where they really shined was the power play. They finished second in the league with a success rate of 23.8 percent. The main reason they aren’t coming in as strong is because they’ve been having issues with their goalies. With no confidence to start one over the other, it shows their lack of strength at the position and lack of depth. On the other hand, this is a fast, aggressive team.
The Lightning finished 50-24-8 with 108 points this season and they’re really looking to redeem themselves this offseason after falling flat last year to the Canadiens. When looking at their offense, they’re more consistent than Detroit when it comes to scoring. Their 5-on-5 goal for/against ratio was 1.28, which was second in the league. The Lightning are a young, strong offensive bunch with a lot of depth, but where they will really stand out against the Red Wings is their goaltending. They have two great goalies to work with, whereas Detroit has two mediocre netminders.
PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR:
Henrik Zetterberg, a long time leader for the Red Wings. He may be nearing the end of his road, but this guy isn’t washed up just yet. He led his team in points with 66 and in assists with 49. Speaking of old men, Pavel Datsyuk. He’s also a very important leader for this team and all around a great hockey player. His presence alone makes this a different team.
As for Tampa Bay, Steven Stamkos of course. He is easily one of the best in the league. He’s a versatile scorer and used that to his advantage to lead his team with 72 points and 43 goals. The rookie Jonathan Drouin, the kid has great puck control. He racked up 32 points in 70 games in his first season in the NHL. Of course, Tampa Bays “triplets” line. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov have some of the best chemistry in the game. The speed and skill of this line can lead this team to a Stanley Cup Championship.
Detroit’s Darren Helm will be ready for game one after sitting out with an illness. Justin Abdelkader is questionable while he continues nursing a hand injury. Tampa Bay’s Braydon Coburn, Andrej Sustr, and Alex Killorn are all expected to play after being out. Coburn with a lower body, Sustr with an upper body, and Killorn with an undisclosed injury. James Garrison will be out with an upper body injury.
GAME 1: April 16, Detroit @ Tampa Bay 7:30ET/6:30CT CNBC
GAME 2: April 18, Detroit @ Tampa Bay 3:00ET/2:00CT NBC
GAME 3: April 21, Detroit vs. Tampa Bay 7:00ET/6:00CT NBCSN
GAME 4: April 23, Detroit vs. Tampa Bay 7:00ET/6:00CT NBCSN
IF GAME 5: April 25, TBA
IF GAME 6: April 27, TBA
IF GAME 7: April 29, TBA
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