Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Petr Mrazek stopped 44 shots in his NHL playoff debut and Pavel Datsyuk added a pair of goals, leading Detroit in a 3- 2 decision over Tampa Bay in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
Mrazek finished the regular season 16-9-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average and three shutouts over 29 appearances, and repaid head coach Mike Babcock's trust with a career-high in saves.
"Petr really saved us tonight and the PK was good. Other than that, we have a lot of stuff we have to be better at," said Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.
Luke Glendening added a key short-handed goal in the third period while Darren Helm picked up a pair of assists for the Red Wings, who have reached the postseason every year since 1991.
Brian Boyle and Nikita Nesterov lit the lamp for the Lightning, but Ben Bishop made just 11 saves in defeat.
Bishop was also making his postseason debut after missing all of Tampa Bay's four-game, opening-round sweep against the Canadiens last year with a dislocated elbow.
Game 2 is set for Saturday on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Tampa's Tyler Johnson narrowly missed tying the game on a backhander at the tail end of a Bolts advantage two minutes into the third, but the hosts failed to convert.
They got another chance when Wings defenseman Marek Zidlicky was booked for cross checking at 4:35, but Detroit widened its lead instead.
Glendening chased down a loose puck on the right wing, collected it, and spun around to fool former teammate Valtteri Filppula, before beating Bishop between his pads with a turnaround backhander at 5:50 for a 3-1 game.
Nesterov pulled the Lightning within a goal on a hard shot from between the circles at 8:26 and Mrazek continued to be under siege from there.
Bishop was sent off for an extra attacker with over 90 seconds remaining, but the Wings netminder only needed to be sharp to stop Anton Stralman's point drive with 40 seconds to go.
Helm was booked for hooking with 12.8 showing and the Bolts were up 6-on-4, yet the hosts' single offering was blocked away and sent to neutral ice.
"When you only have that many shots, you'd like to not give up three goals, but at the end of the day, they get a couple bounces and we played well," Bishop said. "If we play like that, we'll win more games than we'll lose."
Datsyuk gave the Wings a lead with 9:03 elapsed in the opening period, tipping home a Kyle Quincey point shot with the heel of his blade while standing in the slot.
Boyle then put on a full stop in front of Mrazek on a short-handed breakaway and scored to tie the game with 5:29 left in the first.
Detroit led 2-1 on its fourth shot of the game, a power-play strike by Datsyuk through a Helm screen only eight seconds into the second. It was a new team record, eclipsing the old mark of nine seconds set by Gordie Howe in 1954.
Mrazek was calm under fire in the second period. He snagged a Braydon Coburn wrister with a sweeping glove save, and closed off the near post as Alex Killorn broke in alone up the left wing at the second-period buzzer, the final of his 17 saves in the middle frame.
Datsyuk posted his 40th and 41st career playoff goals, ranking 10th on the Red Wings' all-time list with Slava Kozlov still placing ninth with 42 postseason markers ... Mrazek's previous best in the NHL was a 42-save effort in a 5-1 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on March 15 ... Tampa Bay failed on all seven of its power-play opportunities ... Coburn returned to the lineup for the first time since March 10.