Tampa Bay Lightning eliminate Detroit Red Wings in Game 5

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange  |  April 22, 2016 at 1:28 AM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- For 58 minutes, a scoreless tie persisted at Amalie Arena, and then with 1:43 left, as Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek went behind the net to clear a puck, the Tampa Bay Lightning grabbed it from him and pounced on the opportunity.

Ryan Callahan took the loose puck and fed a pass to Alex Killorn, who flicked in the game-winner, giving Tampa Bay a 1-0 win in Game 5 to eliminate the Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop outdueled Mrazek, getting 34 saves in his first shutout this postseason.

"It's a great feeling," Killorn said of the series-clinching goal, his third score of the series. "I think we battled so hard for two periods, periods where Bish was keeping us in it. To get that goal with two minutes left was huge, because they did outplay us in a lot of instances."

Detroit pulled Mrazek late for an extra attacker, then got a power play with 44 seconds left for a 6-on-4 advantage, but the Lightning defense held on.

Tampa Bay's penalty kill went 4-for-4, leaving Detroit 1-for- 25 on power-play opportunities in the series.

It's the second year in a row that Tampa Bay has eliminated Detroit in the opening round -- the Lightning now have time for much-needed rest before facing either the Florida Panthers or the New York Islanders in the second round.

"Opportunity lost," Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg said. "Second year in a row, you would say we were close, we were in this series. They find a way to win. We don't. That's something we will have to address."

The Panthers and Islanders are currently locked in a 2-2 series.

Bishop and Mrazek had remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie deep into the third period, with Bishop being tested much more but Mrazek facing more shots in the final period.

"He faced a lot of shots tonight, a lot of Grade-A chances," Callahan said. "If it's not for Ben tonight, we're probably going back to Detroit right now. It's a huge game from him, and we found a way."

Facing elimination, Detroit backed off from the physical, contentious, fight-filled play that had marked the first four games. Neither team could muster a penalty for a power play in the final period. It took a lucky break for the Lightning, catching an opportunity with Mrazek out of position.

With the Lightning hoping to close out the opening-round series on home ice, the two teams took a scoreless tie into the third period -- but only due to superb play by Bishop, who stopped three breakaways in the second period alone.

The Lightning survived a 5-on-3 for 74 seconds in the first five minutes of the game, with a substitution penalty followed by a cross-checking penalty on defenseman Jason Garrison.

Tampa Bay's penalty-kill unit had held Detroit to one power-play goal in 21 opportunities in the first four games, and went 4-for-4 in killing off power plays on Thursday.

Tampa Bay's power play, which had three goals in a Game 4 win at Detroit on Tuesday, couldn't find the same success in Game 5 -- in one second-period power play, short-handed Detroit outshot Tampa Bay 2-0, with Riley Sheahan getting stopped on a breakaway.

Darren Helm had another breakaway with 8:05 left in the period, and a turnover gave Dylan Larkin a third breakaway, but a kick save from Bishop stopped that as well. Bishop had 23 saves after two periods, while Mrazek -- who had a shutout in Game 3 -- matched that zero with 14 saves of his own.

"Their best players outplayed our best players," Zetterberg said. "We've got to produce more, including me. ... We played well. We did a lot of good things. You have to score goals in this sport, and we're not doing that."

The Lightning played much of the second period without center Tyler Johnson, who has two goals and five assists in the series. Johnson was not on the Lightning bench and had just 2:19 in ice time in the second, but returned and played during the final period.

NOTES: The Lightning had RW Erik Condra dressed for the second time in the series as their final forward, stepping in again for J.T. Brown, who is out for at least this series with an upper-body injury. C Jonathan Marchessault and D Matt Taormina were healthy scratches. ... Detroit went with D Brendan Smith (plus-2 in the series through Game 4) as its last defensemen, with Alexey Marchenko as a healthy scratch for the second time this series. RW Tomas Jurco and LW Teemu Pulkkinen were healthy scratches, as they have been in each game this series. ... Tuesday's Lightning win in Detroit marked the first time a road team won in eight games between the clubs this season.

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