TAMPA, Fla. – Detroit's Petr Mrazek rejected shot after shot, making the decision to give him his first NHL playoff start look like a wise one.
The Red Wings won Game 1 of their opening-round Eastern Conference series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 Thursday night, with their young goaltender finishing with 44 saves and veteran Pavel Datsyuk scoring two goals.
"Found a way to win as a team. It wouldn't have been the way I would have drawn it up, but I don't care, you got a win," Detroit's Mike Babcock said after becoming the 10th coach in league history with 80 playoff victories. "Mrazek stood tall for us. We can all get better, which is a positive thing."
Datsyuk scored on two of the first four shots the Red Wings got against Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop. Luke Glendening's short-handed goal gave Detroit a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
Mrazek, named Detroit's starter for Game 1 over the struggling but much more experienced Jimmy Howard, gave up a short-handed goal to Brian Boyle in the first period and a late goal to Nikita Nesterov that enabled the Lightning to pull within 3-2.
Tampa Bay outshot the Red Wings 46-14 but went 0-for-7 on the power play — failing to even get a shot off on the final opportunity in the closing seconds. It was the fewest shots Detroit has attempted in a game this season, as well as the most it has allowed an opponent.
"The first five minutes they shoot from everywhere. It's a huge part of the game," the 23-year-old Mrazek said. "It was so fun. Huge crowd. It's huge we got the first win."
New York Rangers 2, Pittsburgh 1: The New York Rangers wanted to jump right on the Pittsburgh Penguins in their playoff series opener.
How about a goal at 28 seconds?
Derick Brassard provided that, then Ryan McDonagh scored later in the first period. Henrik Lundqvist made the goals stand up as the Rangers shut down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in New York.
Brassard got things started when Marc-Andre Fleury sent the rebound of Rick Nash's hard shot directly into the slot. Brassard was uncovered for a quick wrist shot, the center screaming in delight as the puck went in.
Fleury made 36 saves. The Rangers couldn't get to the loose pucks the rest of the night.
But they got McDonagh's winner on their slumping power play, which went 1-for-5.
On its third of four man-advantages — and the only one that threatened — in the opening 20 minutes, McDonagh's slapper from midpoint sneaked past Fleury.
"We put a couple goals there in the first period, and got the crowd and momentum on our side," the Rangers captain said.
The usually dangerous Crosby and Malkin didn't have the puck much — Crosby had only one shot, Malkin two.
Crosby thought the Penguins were tentative at the outset, and their inability to keep the puck also wound up costing them.
"Their best defense was puck possession," Crosby said, "and holding on to it in our end. You have to get pucks behind them and really work their D."