Key Matchup-

Nikita Kucherov vs. Pavel Datsyuk will likely to be the main story of this series. Kucherov has become an offensive threat for the Lightning over the last season. Datsyuk is a legend and still has impressive two-way play and has no issue getting shots on net. The two Russian players will keep the series interesting.

Detroit Red Wings-

Winning Formula: 

The Red Wings thrive when they pursue the puck and keep control the way they had under Mike Babcock. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still two of hockey’s most elite two-way forwards and the Lightning will find their hands full dealing with the two talented players. Dylan Larkin will likely remain a force on the team adding numbers to the scoreboard throughout the series.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less: 

Detroit has been inconsistent over the last year under new coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings were a team with an identity that lead to success before Blashill took over, but since the team has struggled to remember the legacy they are and how they got to that point. They remain a top ten possession team, but they rely heavily on Datsyuk and Zetterberg for wins and when in the playoffs two players aren’t going to keep a floundering team afloat.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

Winning Formula:

Victor Hedman has been a powerful defensive force for the Bolts. Hedman’s partner Anton Stralman fell to injury, but the fan’s shouldn’t be worried overly as Hedman has shown he is capable of doing his job in Stralman’s absence leading up to this series. Steven Stamkos is out one to three months with a blood clot and he will be missed, but fortunately for the Lightning have tremendous depth and are able to produce from every line.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  

The power play seems to be the bane of the Lightning’s existence. As of late March, they were third in the league in time spent on the power play while they had the worst success rate of all the teams in the playoffs on the power play. The Lightning focus heavily on defense during the power play and lose the opportunity for offensive production.

Prediction: Lightning in 6

Follow us on Twitter @TristinHuntamer and @BandBHockey

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Head-to-Head Season Stats
Stats
Lightning
Red Wings
Record

3-1-0

1-2-1

Goals

11

9

Shot Attempts

163

142

 

Season Stats
 
Lightning
Red Wings
Rank
Stats
Rank
Stats
Shot Attempts For/60

7

55.8 13

54.1

Shot Attempts Against/60

3

47.8 2

46.3

Shot Attempt %

2

53.9 3

53.9

Goals For/60

1

2.77 24

2.07

Goals Against/60

14

2.12 7

1.98

Goal %

2

56.7 15

51.2

Shooting %

1

9.1 19

7.4

Save %

20

91.9 12

92.5

Powerplay

14

18.8 2

23.8

Penalty Kill

9

83.7 17

80.9

 

Key Matchup-

Pavel Datsyuk vs. Steven Stamkos: Puck possession is key in the playoffs and Datsyuk is one of the best players in the league in that regard whereas Steven Stamkos is just average in that aspect of the game. Stamkos’ relative goal percentage is not good, but that’s only because the Lightning are such a deep team that any line can score, so maybe the key matchup is really Datsyuk vs. the entire Lighting team.

Detroit Red Wings-

Winning Formula: When Detroit is healthy, it has a ton of depth in the form of four strong lines that can play in any situation and adapt to almost any style of game. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are right there with Datsyuk and Zetterberg when it comes to offensive contributions. Whether it’s Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson or Petr Mrazek, they have the kind of goaltending that is very good and can sometimes be great.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Red Wings need guidance and sometimes find it difficult to come back after being down. When they have everyone healthy, they’re confident and efficient with the puck and difficult to beat. But it seems if a player (especially a forward) is injured, it causes a mess once the line juggling begins, and throws the entire team out of sync. The playoffs are more brutal than the regular season and players get injured so this could be a negative factor for this team.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

Winning Formula: The Lightning is the highest-scoring team in the NHL. Everyone on this team is expected to contribute. No defenseman plays more than 23 minutes a game and, generally speaking, no forward plays more than 20. Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos both constantly find ways to put the puck in the back of the net. In years past the Bolts had problems with their penalty kill, but that has all changed. The Lightning have quietly become a top-10 team on the PK. They can play a physical game. In the net Ben Bishop is pretty solid, but he needs to work on his lateral game. Backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is solid in the crease as well.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Tampa is a middle-of-the-road team when it comes to the power play and digressing in the second half of the season. Sometimes go through periods in which the “shoot first” mentality disappears, and they try to execute picture-perfect plays instead of keeping things simple. Teams do not get points for making their goals pretty. In the playoffs successful teams can score goals that don’t necessarily make the highlight reels. Defense is also an issue. The Lightning, gets involved a little too often in the run-and-gun type of game at both ends of the ice, a style that never seems to translate well to post-season play. To get the puck past Bishop Detroit will need to get him  moving post to post as his lateral game is his weakest area.

Follow me @TristinHuntamer

grail

EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS
SERIES A – A1 vs. W1 TIME (ET) Ottawa-Montreal NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 7 p.m. Ottawa at Montreal CBC, TVA Sports, NHL Network
Friday, April 17  7 p.m. Ottawa at Montreal CBC, TVA Sports, CNBC
Sunday, April 19 7 p.m. Montreal at Ottawa CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 22 7 p.m. Montreal at Ottawa CBC, TVA Sports, USA
*Friday, April 24  TBD Ottawa at Montreal CBC
*Sunday, April 26  TBD Montreal at Ottawa CBC
*Tuesday, April 28  TBD Ottawa at Montreal CBC
SERIES B – A2 vs. A3 TIME (ET) Detroit-Tampa Bay NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Thursday, April 23 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
SERIES C – M1 vs. W2 TIME (ET) Pittsburgh-NY Rangers NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, April 22 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Friday, April 24 TBD Pittsburgh at NY Rangers TBD
*Sunday, April 26 TBD NY Rangers at Pittsburgh TBD
*Tuesday, April 28 TBD Pittsburgh at NY Rangers TBD
SERIES D – M2 vs. M3 TIME (ET) NY Islanders- Washington NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 7 p.m. NY Islanders at Washington USA, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Friday, April 17 7 p.m. NY Islanders at Washington NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 19 Noon Washington at NY Islanders NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7:30 p.m. Washington at NY Islanders USA, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 23 TBD NY Islanders at Washington TBD
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Washington at NY Islanders TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD NY Islanders at Washington TBD
WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS
SERIES E – C1 vs. W1 TIME (ET) Minnesota-St. Louis NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 8 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota CNBC, SN1, TVA Sports
Wednesday, April 22 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Friday, April 24 TBD Minnesota at St. Louis TBD
*Sunday, April 26 TBD St. Louis at Minnesota TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Minnesota at St. Louis TBD
SERIES F – C2 vs. C3 TIME (ET) Chicago-Nashville NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 8:30 p.m. Chicago at Nashville NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
Friday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Chicago at Nashville NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 19 3 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 9:30 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 23 TBD Chicago at Nashville TBD
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Nashville at Chicago TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Chicago at Nashville TBD
SERIES G – P1 vs. W2 TIME (ET) Winnipeg-Anaheim NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 10:30 p.m. Winnipeg at Anaheim CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 10:30 p.m. Winnipeg at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 9 p.m. Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 22 9:30 p.m. Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet, TVA Sports, USA
*Friday, April 24 TBD Winnipeg at Anaheim Sportsnet
*Sunday, April 26 TBD Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet
*Tuesday, April 28 TBD Winnipeg at Anaheim Sportsnet
SERIES H – P2 vs. P3 TIME (ET) Calgary-Vancouver NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 10 p.m. Calgary at Vancouver CBC, TVA Sports, USA
Friday, April 17 10 p.m. Calgary at Vancouver CBC, TVA Sports, CNBC
Sunday, April 19 10 p.m. Vancouver at Calgary CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 21 10 p.m. Vancouver at Calgary CBC, TVA Sports, USA
*Thursday, April 23 TBD Calgary at Vancouver CBC
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Vancouver at Calgary CBC
*Monday, April 27 TBD Calgary at Vancouver CBC

* – if necessary TBD – To be determined (JIP) – joined in progress

newsletter_us

DETROIT – Coming off a loss in Nashville where the Jets dominated but just couldn’t find the back of the net , they were looking at bringing that same effort into the Motor City where the Red Wings have been tough to beat at the Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings have only lost four times in 27 games at home and were riding a six-game winning streak. The Jets fell down early 3-1 but battled back and then needed a shootout winner by newcomer Drew Stafford to get a 5-4 win and a valuable two points in a very tight Western wild card race.

“I just want to keep contributing any way I can,” said Stafford,

Michael Hutchinson got the start in goal tonight and he was clutch when it mattered most he stopped 25 shots during the game and another 4 during the shoot out to get the win. He is now 16-7-3 on the season.

Jimmy Howard was back in the pipes for the Wings after missing 5 weeks with a groin injury. He made 34 saves on 38 Winnipeg shots and stopped 3 of 4 in the shootout.

“Sometimes I felt a little ahead of the game and sometimes I felt a little behind the play. It’ll come,” Howard said.

His record falls to 16-7-8 on the year.

“I just thought our lack of ability to take care of the puck in the offensive zone in the second half of the game hurt us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The Jets started on the slow side although they got the game’s first goal they were dominated a bit by the smooth skating tight checking Red Wings. They fell behind 3-1 early in the second before taking over the game and tying things up heading to the third. Winnipeg got the lead in the third before surrendering the tying goal and then heading to overtime before getting the win in the shootout. Special teams were again a strong factor as both teams scored two power play goals during the game. The Jets were the more physical team as they out hit the Red Wings. They also controlled most of the play.

“You get down 3-1, it’s nice to have someone other than Dustin (Byfuglien),” Maurice said “[Jacob Trouba] can jump in the odd time, but it’s nice to have another guy who can jump into the play.”

Winnipeg goal scorers were Chris Thorburn his 6th , Blake Wheeler his 16th, Drew Stafford his 10th (1st as a Jet) Andrew Ladd his 19th.

Detroit got goals from Niklas Kronwall his 6th, Darren Helm his 12th, Pavel Datsyuk his 16th , 17th on the season.

Newcomers Stafford and Tyler Myers were playing there second game as Jets and made a huge impact as Stafford scored the tying goal during the second period and then scored the shootout winner and was a force all game. Myers had 2 assists and logged just under 27 minutes of ice time and even had a disallowed goal. Right now these two seem to be fitting in nicely.

The Jets will head home for a one game battle with Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.

Winnipeg improves to 29-19-10 on the season.

Follow me on Twitter @hrank94

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WINNIPEG, MB – With the nostalgic Detroit Red Wings in town, the Jets were looking to continue their hot streak and their strong defensive game against one of the top teams in the East and a role model franchise who are automatic when it comes to consistency and playoffs. Things seemed to be going well until the third period when the Red Wings scored a couple unanswered goals and stole a win over the Jets by a score of 4-3.

Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec gave up four goals on 27 shots and looked a tad shaky during the game. With the loss, his record falls to 7-7-2 on the season.1

“We lost against a really good team,” Pavelec said. “Overall I think the game was OK. We just couldn’t finish it in the third period. The third period, we should play a little smarter. But we played hard.”

The Red Wings backup goalie, Petr Mrazek, made his season debut and looked sharp as the Jets threw 31 shots his way and he made 28 saves and also had some help from a couple goal posts to get his first win of the season.

“He’s a good goalie,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Mrazek. “He’s totally relaxed and just thinks that he is going to win.”

The first period was like a chess match as both teams were just clogging up the neutral zone and playing very cautious and waiting for somebody to make the first mistake. The Red Wings are very skilled team but are one of the best shut down teams in the NHL with a smothering defensive system.

The Jets got goals from Dustin Byfuglien who got his 3rd of the year and his first in 14 games, Adam Lowry notched his 2nd, Mathieu Perrault got his 2nd .

Detroit got goals from Tomas Tatar his 7th and 8th , Johan Franzen his 6th , Justin Abdelkader his 6th of the season.

“It’s great to see [Tatar] getting two [goals],” Franzen said. “He is one of those guys, he grows when he scores. He loves it, so it’s good to see.”

The Jets were all over the Red Wings and after it was 2-0 , a switch came on and the Red Wings decided to start playing and quickly capitalized on a couple of Jets turnovers and it was 2-2.

“We were standing around watching them and didn’t want to get involved in the game,” Babcock said. “Our goaltending was good and our penalty kill was good. They kept us in the game. We got upset, or whatever we did, we finally dug in and got playing. Once we got executing, we had lots of opportunities around their net. In the end, it’s a big road win for us.

“It’s hard to shoot [the puck] when you don’t have it. I just thought that we gutted it out. We had good leadership in our [dressing] room. We had leadership on the bench. We just dug in and found a way to get it done.

“I like the team. I think we have a chance to be a good team. I keep telling the guys that. Just like most teams in the [NHL], we’re a work in progress and trying to get better.”

The Jets regained the lead late in the second on a beauty by Perreault but played a tentative third where they seemed to be worried and it cost them as the Wings struck for 2 goals late and got the win.

Again the Jets power play was 0-3 and this is something that needs to be addressed as it is hurting the team. The Jets were also schooled by Detroit in the face off dots as the Red Wings were over 60% to the Jets 39%. Tough to always be chasing the puck after a face off.

The Jets got a strong game once again from the Perreault, Byfuglien, Evander Kane line who were buzzing and banging all game long.

Things won’t get easier as the Jets will welcome division rivals the St. Louis Blues to town for a Sunday afternoon game.

Follow me on Twitter @hrank94