DETROIT (AP) — Petr Mrazek made 23 saves for his fourth career shutout, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Saturday.
Mrazek replaced Jimmy Howard in the middle of Thursday’s 6-4 loss to San Jose, and coach Mike Babcock gave him the start against Tampa Bay. Mrazek kept the league’s highest-scoring team at bay, and the Lightning were blanked for the first time all season.
Joakim Andersson, Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit in the second period, and Luke Glendening added an empty-net goal in the third. The Red Wings won in regulation for the first time in six games.
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing five games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
If the current standings hold, Detroit and Tampa Bay would face each other in the first round of the playoffs, a matchup that would draw plenty of buzz because former Red Wings star Steve Yzerman is now the general manager of the Lightning.
Detroit beat Tampa Bay for the first time this season, and the 23-year-old Mrazek made a good case for more playing time. Mrazek also played well earlier this season when Howard was injured.
The Red Wings had the better chances in the first period and finally broke through in the second when Andersson batted an airborne puck down through Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop’s legs to make it 1-0.
Abdelkader beat Bishop high to the blocker side on a breakaway for his 23rd goal of the season, and Nyquist added his 24th when he beat defenseman Matthew Carle to the puck on what at first looked like it might end up being an icing call. Nyquist reached out, chipped the puck in the air with his stick, and it went over Bishop’s left shoulder and in.
The Lightning came into the game a point behind Montreal atop the Atlantic Division, and they lost in regulation for only the fourth time against a division opponent. They play their next four games on the road, including a matchup with the Canadiens on Monday night.
Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette had to be helped off the ice late in the third when he slid into the net to prevent Abdelkader from scoring an empty-net goal. Paquette’s left leg appeared to stretch awkwardly on the play.
Glendening scored into the empty net moments later, shooting as he fell to the ice near his own blue line. The puck slowly slid all the way down the ice and into the unguarded goal.
NOTES: Ottawa is the only remaining team that hasn’t been shut out this season, according to STATS. … Tampa Bay D Jason Garrison left early in the first after being knocked into the boards by Abdelkader, who received a minor penalty. … Tampa Bay D Braydon Coburn (lower-body injury), Red Wings C Riley Sheahan (upper body) and Detroit RW Erik Cole (upper body) did not play.
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