Series preview: (2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings
By PAT PICKENS
(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings
Season series: Tampa Bay won 3-1
The Lightning were swept out of the playoffs by Montreal last season, and the Red Wings were blasted in five games by the Bruins a year ago. This season, it'll be Steve Yzerman, the Lightning GM, against his old squad.
Lightning strikes: Tampa Bay lead the NHL, scoring 262 goals in the regular season. The Lightning are lead by all-world center Steven Stamkos, who quietly scored 43 points and recorded 72 points. Second-year forward Tyler Johnson posted 72 points -- one of four Tampa Bay players with more than 60 points.
Ben Bishop had a solid season, winning 40 games and posting a 2.32 goals-against average with a .916 save percentage. He will, however, make his playoff debut in Game 1. Bishop missed all four games last season with a lower-body injury he sustained late in the regular season.
Wings and prayers: The Red Wings struggled down the stretch. Detroit suffered a major letdown in goal as Jimmy Howard was replaced by Petr Mrazek. Mrazek will be the Wings' Game 1 starter in net.
Detroit also struggled to score, posting 15 goals in its last seven games. The Wings have a dynamic offense, but they need fell victim to Boston's defense a year ago in the postseason. They'll have to score to keep up with the high-flying Lightning.
Series X-factor: Goaltending. Goaltending is the key in every series, but given the fact neither Game 1 starter has ever played in a playoff game, whichever netminder handles the pressure better will likely advance.Pick: Lightning in 5.
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