Monday April 13th, 2015

The Detroit Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek in goal for Game 1 of its playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, head coach Mike Babcock announced on Monday. 

Mrazek, 23, will start over veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard, who started the majority of the Red Wings' games this season. 

In 29 regular season games, Mrazek was 16-9-2 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.38 goals-against average. Howard was 23-13-11 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.44 goals-against average in 53 games this season. 

BLINN: Can Crosby's Pens pull off an upset of the Rangers?

After posting a .926 save percentage in December, Howard has not had a save percentage higher than .902 in each of the four months since. He missed time in January due to a groin injury. 

Game 1 against the Lightning will be Mrazek's first playoff start of his career.

The first game of the series will be on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Detroit, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, was 43-25-14 this season, while Tampa Bay, the No. 3 seed, was 50-24-8.

- Molly Geary

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.