Mrazek bounces back to help Wings capture Game 3
DETROIT -- You need to have a short memory in sports, especially in the postseason.
Petr Mrazek is no exception.
The Red Wings' rookie goaltender has been calm, cool and collected since giving up four goals on 18 shots in Game 2 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
And that's exactly how he played Tuesday night.
Mrazek bounced back in Game 3, stopping all 22 shots he faced en route to his second straight shutout of the Lightning at Joe Louis Arena.
"I felt great," Mrazek said. "I think we played real well defensively today and guys helped me there so much and the huge part was the PK for us."
It has been a whirlwind week of firsts for the rookie, who made his postseason debut, won his first playoff game and recorded his first postseason shutout in the first three games of the series.
He also became the first rookie goaltender since Jimmy Howard -- the veteran Mrazek won Detroit's starting job over -- to have a shutout in the playoffs (2010). Mrazek is just the 19th goaltender to have a postseason shutout for the Wings.
"Pete gave us lots of lift," said Tomas Tatar. "He stopped early lots of shots. He gave us a chance when we took the lead and kept the lead the rest of the game. Pete was huge. He got a nice comeback win again."
Comeback win? Bounce-back performance? Rebound? Babcock clarified again after the Wings took a 2-1 series lead that he doesn't want to hear any "bounce back" talk.
"If you think you can have a bounce-back game, that means that you had a bad game, right?" Babcock asked. "You're not playing in the NHL if you keep having bad games."
Mrazek hasn't had a plethora of bad performances. But when he's been pulled from a game, he returns in the next contest with a vengeance.
Mrazek has now posted a 4-0-1 record with a 1.38 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage in the five games after he was relieved of a start.
It sure sounds like Tuesday was another comeback effort, but Mrazek was quick to give credit where credit was due: the penalty kill unit.
The Wings stifled all six of Tampa Bay's power plays -- including a crucial 5-on-3 matchup -- to keep the Lightning scoreless.
"The 5-on-3 was a huge part of the game," Mrazek said. "After that, the game came on our side a little bit."
And the Wings never lost it.
But they won't spend too much time dwelling on the victory, as the next challenge is less than 48 hours away.
"It's over," Mrazek said. "We have to look for Thursday now and we have two games more."
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