Tampa Bay (11-4-0, 22 points) at Detroit (9-5-3, 21 points)
Tampa Bay 8-2-0; Detroit 4-3-3
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This is the first of four meetings between the Lightning and the Red Wings this season. With just a single win coming at Joe Louis Arena in franchise history, the Bolts own a 1-13-1 record in Detroit. The next time the two clubs play each other is on December 12 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Big Story:
Kicking-off a three-game road trip against the Atlantic Division tonight, the Bolts are looking to gain ground in the standings as they currently hold the top spot in the division with a game-in-hand on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Lightning's Valtteri Filppula, who was acquired in the offseason from the Red Wings, also plays his former team for the first time this season.
LIGHTNING – Despite winning their last contest, 4-2, against the Oilers, Tampa Bay did not walk away from the win on a positive note. Unhappy with the turnover ratio and the lack of shots on net (they have failed to record at least 30 shots on net in five out of last six games), head coach Jon Cooper voiced that while they have been lucky in the win column, their misplay will eventually catch up with them.
Netminder Ben Bishop again played sterling and made many of the saves that he probably should not have according to Cooper, leading to his 10th win of the season, which ranks tied for first in the league with the Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury.
Now playing three Atlantic Division rivals in the next four days, the road trip will be a true test to the Lightning's ability to correct problems and remain consistent in three barns that are not easy to play in.
RED WINGS – Letting a win slide from their fingertips with less than two minutes to play as the Stars, Cody Eakin forced overtime, Detroit was only able to earn one point when Rich Peverly scored the overtime game-winner with 19 second remaining in the extra fame to solidify the win for Dallas.
Not only was it a tough loss for the Red Wings, but they have also lost their fourth straight game at home. Heading into the second contest of a four-game homestand and a slate that features seven out of their next 10 games at the Joe, Detroit looks to get back on the winning side of things, as they trail the Bolts by just one point in the standings.
Scoring two unassisted goals Thursday, Steven Stamkos now has seven goals in five straight games and is also riding a seven-game point streak (eight goals, four assists). His point streak is tied for second in the league with Kevin Shattenkirk, as the longest active streak in the NHL.
LIGHTNING – D Brian Lee (Knee, Out), F Tom Pyatt (Broken Collar Bone, Out); RED WINGS – Patrick Eaves (Knee/Ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (Shoulder), Johan Franzen (Illness), Jonas Gustavsson (Groin/Neck), Darren Helm (Groin), Jimmy Howard (Hand), Niklas Kronwall (Concussion), Brendan Smith (Shoulder), Jordin Tootoo (Shoulder)
10/31 – Lightning recall forward Brett Connolly from the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Twitter Stat Pack:
Scoring Duos @RealStamkos91/Martin St. Louis (combined 38 pts.) and Datsyuk/Zetterberg (combined 36 pts.) are two of best scoring duos in @NHL.
The #TBLightning hold a 7-2-0 record when they record a power-play marker in a game.
The #Bolts @BenBishop30 has allowed more than two goals in a game only twice this season.
"I think he's a pretty calm guy, but inside there'll be extra butterflies. Once the puck drops though, a game's a game." – Cooper on Filppula's return to Detroit
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