Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning Playoff Preview


The Detroit Red Wings were left uncounted among playoff teams before the season began.  Afterall they were in the midst of a rebuild. Even General Manager Ken Holland said “We’re a team in transition.”

The consensus of analysts on a multiple platforms covering the game of hockey was the Detroit Red Wings would miss the playoffs entering 2014-15 season ending the streak at 23 straight playoff appearances. Detroit was counted out.

Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings /

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings coach Mike Babcock a day before the season started went on 97.1 The Ticket’s Stoney and Bill, and Mike Stone asked Babcock “Will the Red Wings make the playoffs”, and Babcock without hesitation said “We’ll get in.”

Mike Babcock had the mindset, as did his team, that it was them against the world or to quote the song of Eminem and Royce Da 5’9 “Detroit Vs Everybody”

I was one of few that said the Wings would make it, and it wasn’t because I grew up in Detroit and it wasn’t because I root for the Wings as a journalist, I have to be informative for my readers.

In my mind, Detroit was the “new kid on the block”. Everyone knows the Wings have been a power for the last two decades. However Detroit was young and didn’t have much start appeal beyond Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

No one knew the “Kids” (as we call them), Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco. They were just under the radar in a NHL loaded with stars.

Detroit’s season started off outstanding and well into January and February they were playing their best hockey. In March is where Detroit struggled but it should be noted in the month of March no team turned the puck over for goals more than Detroit.

Since April 1st, Detroit is 3-2-1. Not great but Detroit only outscored opponents 14-13. Detroit made their 24th consecutive playoff appearance against Montreal where they lost, but got a point and Boston lost which solidified Detroit in the playoffs, yet again.

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Many people may be worried about the cold month of March and half way through April but in hockey you just have to get in the playoffs and it’s anyone’s ball game.

Detroit will play Tampa Bay the schedule hasn’t been determined but Detroit will face Tampa Bay in the NHL Playoffs.

So what are some keys, X-Factors and match ups to watch don’t worry we have you covered.

Season Series: 1-2-1 

Ben Bishop Against Detroit: 

Record: 7-2-0 

GAA: 1.68 

Save Pct: 936%

Ben Bishop Analysis:

Throughout his career Ben Bishop’s goals against average in April is 2.72. Bishop doesn’t need to be stellar because Tampa Bay scores in bunches.

Detroit Goalie Controversy:

To people who say “start Mrazek” and I will admit I was one of them even today but throughout Jimmy Howard’s career his strongest month is April he boasts a 1.96 GAA and .925 save percentage.

Jimmy Howard is 3-2-2 against the Lighting throughout his career 2.11 goals against and .911 save percentage.

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Petr Mrazek is 1-2-0 against Tampa Bay with a goals against of 2.64 and save percentage of .894.

While people are clamoring for Mrazek or Howard, the real question is what goalie can play above the levels they played at this season and compensate for the defense which hasn’t been good, specifically in the past month.

Monday HC Mike Babcock said Petr Mrazek will get the start, but hold your horses.

Team Comparison: 

Goals For Per Game: 

Tampa Bay – 3.16 (1st)

Detroit – 2.83 (10th)

Goals Against Per Game: 

Tampa Bay – 2.51 (12th)

Detroit –  2.57 (15th)

Power Play: 

Tampa Bay – 18.8% (14th)

Detroit – 23.8 (2nd)

Penalty Kill: 

Tampa Bay – 83.7 (9th)

Detroit – 80.9 (17th)

Shots Per Game: 

Tampa Bay – 29.6 (19th)

Detroit 29.6 (18th)

Series Prediction: Wings In 7

This series is the best case scenario for the Wings avoiding Montreal and New York was key for Detroit, now they face a young Tampa Bay team who is very inexperienced at the playoff level. Ben Bishop has barely played in the playoffs and Detroit has the veteran leadership to get it done.

How do you guys think the series will go? Let us know below and if you want to join the Detroit Jock City NHL Bracket Challenge you can do so here.