Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 things to know about the Detroit Red Wings

1. There's a new coach in town

The biggest change since last year's series starts at the top: coach Mike Babcock left Detroit to lead Toronto's rebuilding project. The Red Wings replaced perhaps the best coach in the game with Jeff Blashill (above), whose rise mirrors that of his good friend, Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Like Cooper, Blashill coached in the USHL and eventually jumped to the AHL, where he led Detroit's Grand Rapids affiliate to the 2013 Calder Cup.

2. Goalie remains a question mark

Petr Mrazek starred against the Lightning in last year's first round, stopping 172 of the 186 shots he faced and recording two shutouts in his first postseason series. But the 24-year-old (above) struggled late this season, allowing 28 goals in 10 games last month. Jimmy Howard, who lost the starting job to Mrazek before last year's playoffs, regained it for the final five games this season. Howard, 32, is expected to start against Tampa Bay.

3. Pavel Datsyuk is on his way out

The 37-year-old center told the Detroit Free Press that he plans to skip the final year of his contract to return home to Russia after this playoff run. The three-time All-Star has spent all 14 of his NHL seasons with Detroit and won the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008. His 604 career assists are seventh among active players, and he led the Red Wings with five points during last year's series. Detroit fans chanted "One more year" at him last week during the regular-season home finale.

4. Detroit's history remains rich

The Red Wings extended their playoff streak to a remarkable 25 seasons — the longest active run in the four major North American pro sports leagues and tied for the third longest in NHL history. The last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs, neither the Lightning nor current points leader Nikita Kucherov were born. That history extends to traditions. Detroit fans are still known for throwing octopi onto the ice in a decades-old ritual where the eight tentacles stood for the number of victories necessary to win the Cup. An octopus made its way onto the ice at Amalie Arena during last year's series.

5. Dylan Larkin is the future

The 19-year-old forward was one of the NHL's top rookies this season. He led Detroit with 23 goals and a plus-11 rating while adding 22 assists in 80 games. Larkin, a Michigan native, showed his speed in the All-Star skills challenge when he became the fastest skater in the history of the event. The last Detroit rookie to play in the NHL All-Star game? Legend Steve Yzerman, who is now the Lightning's general manager.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

5 things to know about the Detroit Red Wings 04/12/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 6:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look

    Blogs

    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  3. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  4. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005

    Bucs

    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  5. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]