TAMPA (FOX 13) - In Game 1, the Lightning and Red Wings went toe to toe, but Jon Cooper isn't expecting this series to resemble a heavyweight match the rest of the way. It's not the makeup of either team, but the extra amount of fists that were flying was a tone-setter.
"Every playoff series is pretty physical," said Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. "Maybe a little more so, but they have some big guys over there that can throw the body around. I don't think it was a surprise. There is a lot of passion out there."
Game 1 also elevated the Lightning's confidence. They now know they can win without Steven Stamkos, which was the biggest concern at the start of this series. Nitika Kucherov's two goals filled the void for one game, but the Lightning aren't looking for one player to take Stamkos' spot.
"I think it's going to be a collective effort to make up for that void," said Lightning center Alex Killorn. "I think Jonathan Drouin coming into the lineup is a huge help the way he's been playing. It's expected of everyone. I think there is so much depth on this team that you'll see guys on the third line, fourth line contributing just as much."
There was a concern that Tyler Johnson wouldn't be ready for the Red Wings, but he showed once again how important he is in the lineup, especially against Detroit. He was the key player in knocking Detroit out of the playoffs last year and he continues to be a thorn, scoring his ninth point in the last eight playoff games against the Red Wings.
"I guess our line just always plays well," said Lightning center Tyler Johnson. "It's a competitive game and we're working hard. They're making the game a little bit easier and we are getting a few bounces here and there."
If the bounces continue the Lightning's way and they win Game 2, it would put the Red Wings in a huge hole that not many teams have come out of -- actually just less than 13 percent of teams have come back down 2-0 in a playoff series.
"Is it insurmountable, no," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "Teams have proven that in the past, but you're putting a lot of pressure on your opponent now to look after home ice and that's the big thing."