TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Lucky bounce or not, Petr Mrazek never saw the puck coming.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on in the NHL playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings are headed home.
Braydon Coburn broke a scoreless tie with a goal that kicked up over Detroit’s goalie early in the third period and Ben Bishop made 31 saves Wednesday night, helping the Lightning beat the Red Wings 2-0 in Game 7 of the first-round NHL playoff series.
“Didn’t plan to do it like that. It flipped up on me. It knuckleballed in there, which is good,” Coburn said.
” I didn’t see it and it just went through me,” Mrazek said. “I knew he was going to shoot a one-timer there, and I lost it … It was a nice shot.”
Ryan Callahan set up Coburn’s third goal in 79 career postseason games with a pass through the slot to the top of the right circle, where the Tampa Bay defenseman launched his shot just under four minutes into the final period.
“We didn’t give them much at all over the whole 60 minutes,” Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. ” I didn’t exactly see the goal, but for me, it looked like a really, just lucky shot — like a missed shot that goes in the far side. It’s a bounce their way, and that’s how they win the game. I think we were better.”
Anton Stralman added an empty-net goal with 1:18 remaining, ensuring the Lightning would win the first Game 7 they’ve played at home since beating Calgary in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay, which rallied from a 3-2 series deficit, advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals against Montreal. The Canadiens host Game 1 on Friday night, with the Lightning looking to redeem themselves after being swept by their Atlantic Division rivals in the first round a year ago.
“You go back a year ago, four-game sweep. To win this series we had to win three of four, and they found a way. So, they learned,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “This sure does make us feel better about ourselves.”
The Red Wings outshot the Lightning 31-17, but Bishop wasn’t tested a lot in posting his first career playoff shutout. Coburn was obtained from Philadelphia in a trade March 2 and had one goal in 43 games for Tampa Bay during the regular season.
Tyler Johnson’s third two-goal game of the series helped the Lightning even the series with a 5-2 victory in Detroit on Monday night. With Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 for a hit on Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning felt good heading back to Amalie Arena, where they posted the NHL’s best home record this season.
But after winning the series opener, as well as shutting out the Lightning in Game 5, on the road, Detroit liked its chances of advancing, too.
The Red Wings outshot the Lightning 14-7 in the first period, but had few real scoring opportunities early against Bishop.
They didn’t generate much more in the second period, although there was an anxious moment for the sellout crowd of 19,204 when Drew Miller’s chip got behind Bishop when the goalie left the net to cut off the forward on a breakaway. The puck trickled left past the unprotected net, and Detroit later wasted another chance to break the scoreless tie when Tomas Tatar was unable to control a pass from Darren Helm and get off a shot in front of the Tampa goal.
Detroit’s frustration on the power play also continued. The Red Wings were 0 for 3 in man-advantage situations Wednesday night and 5 of 29 for the series.
“I thought we sure had them swirling. We gave ourselves every opportunity. We didn’t score. Any way you look at it, that’s what the game is — you’ve got to score,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “When you wake up (Thursday), they’re moving on, and they won 2-0. You don’t bother going back and digging into how the game was played. It’s disappointing for our group, for sure.”
Mrazek had two shutouts in the series after entering Game 1 with no previous playoff experience. He had another solid outing Wednesday night, keeping the league’s highest-scoring team off the scoreboard until 3:58 of the third period.
Stralman’s empty-netter, assisted by Bishop, was just the fourth goal in 62 career playoff games for the veteran defenseman.
Notes: Tampa Bay improved to 4-1 in Game 7s. … The Lightning were 0 for 4 on the power play, 2 for 30 in the series. … Detroit coach Mike Babcock remained tied for ninth with Toe Blake with 82 career playoff wins. Babcock is 3-5 in Game 7s. … It was Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s first Game 7. … In addition to playing without Kronwall, Detroit D Marek Zidlicky missed the game with an undisclosed injury. … Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg did not have a goal in the series. Neither did Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who was second in the NHL with 43 during the regular season.
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