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Lightning wants more pressure on Wings goalie Mrazek

Lightning center Brian Boyle gets a shorthanded goal against  Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek with in-your-face pressure in Game 1. “You’ve got to will pucks in sometimes” in the playoffs, Boyle says.
Lightning center Brian Boyle gets a shorthanded goal against Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek with in-your-face pressure in Game 1. “You’ve got to will pucks in sometimes” in the playoffs, Boyle says.
Published Apr. 18, 2015

BRANDON — As much as the Lightning gave credit to Red Wings rookie G Petr Mzarek for his 44 saves in his 3-2 Game 1 win Thursday, the team feels like it needs to make it harder on him today in Game 2.

"Part of the problem is we let Mrazek see a lot of (the shots)," coach Jon Cooper said.

The Lightning spent a portion of Friday's practice on two-on-one battle drills, and it hopes to put more traffic in front of Mrazek. Plus, Tampa Bay needs to capitalize on rebounds. The Red Wings did a good job of tying up the Lightning in front of their net.

"Goals are harder to come by in the playoffs," C Brian Boyle said. "You've got to will pucks in sometimes."

C Tyler Johnson, who faced Mrazek in the AHL, said he is an aggressive goaltender, a trait that can leave him out of position.

"It's those one-on-one battles with the defensemen, he's trying to tie you up and you're trying to get free," Johnson said. "Our compete level has to be higher in front of the net. The good news for us is pucks are getting there. (We're) getting a lot of chances."

SURPRISE SCRATCH: Lightning LW Jonathan Drouin believed he was playing some of his best hockey down the stretch, and his confidence was rising.

But Drouin, 20, was a healthy scratch Thursday, and he wasn't sure if he was going to play today. Cooper said only that "everybody's available" except for D Jason Garrison (upper-body injury).

"I don't make decisions," Drouin said. "I'll be ready to go when they want me. I'm staying positive."

It was an interesting decision to sit Drouin, the Lightning's No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013 who is a big part of the team's future. Drouin played on the top line with C Steven Stamkos late in the season when LW Alex Killorn was hurt. Cooper had said Drouin earned the opportunity.

Drouin, who had four goals and 28 assists in 70 games, was a healthy scratch four times during the regular season, which he said helped him deal with the one in Game 1. And Drouin acknowledged he has to battle for a spot.

Cooper said he's sure nobody likes to be scratched.

"We'll see about (today)," Cooper said. "But especially for a young kid who is only (20) years old. If (Drouin) is 32, it's probably a whole different perspective for him up there."

NOT YET: Garrison, out since March 28, said he has made significant improvement in the past week but wouldn't play today. His goal was to return next week.

CLOSE CALL: Lightning RW J.T. Brown said he was initially shocked when he got hit in the chin/throat by a Stamkos wrist shot Thursday but felt fortunate he wasn't hurt worse. He went into the locker room and got stitches before returning minutes later. "It hit me in the throat, so it was hard to breathe. That was more concerning at first," Brown said. "Thankfully it was a wrist shot and not a slap shot."

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OTHER SIDE: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he wouldn't make any lineup changes, so F Justin Abdelkader (hand) still would be out. … The Red Wings talked about how much better they need to play, especially after spending too much time in their zone in Game 1. "Once we got the puck, we didn't have much energy to do anything offensively," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. Said D Niklas Kronwall: "We were watching too much."

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.