Tampa Bay 4-3-3; Detroit 5-3-2
Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
Playing each other at the Tampa Bay Times Forum just two days ago, the Bolts and Red Wings meet again Sunday for the second time at Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit. The Lightning have won both prior contests.
December’s slate has proved rough on both Tampa Bay and Detroit, winning just four games in a combined 13 contests. Each team is coming into Sunday on the second half of back-to-backs.
LIGHTNING – Getting the nod for the first game of back-to-back contests, netminder Anders Lindback kept the game scoreless through nearly 40 minutes of play. The New Jersey Devils broke onto the score sheet near the end of the second period though, which has often meant trouble for Tampa Bay, who are 2-10-0 when trailing after two. Veteran players Dainius Zubrus and Jaromir Jagr built on their one-goal advantage, tallying two markers in the final frame for a 3-0 victory.
With seven straight losses on the road head coach Jon Cooper urged the need to get back on track, while away from what’s been an advantageous Times Forum. Sunday’s matchup against the Red Wings is also the middle game of a three-game road swing, which ends in New York versus the Islanders Tuesday.
RED WINGS – Loosing their fourth straight to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, the Red Wings woes continue as they battle through pivotal injuries to their staff. Adding to their injury corps, Justin Adbelkader left the game after a hit by the Penguins Deryk Engelland Friday. Head coach Mike Babcock said he would be unavailable Sunday as he goes through concussion protocol.
With an uncharacteristically poor record at home (5-7-6) Detroit plays five of their next six contests at Joe Louis Arena.
Rookie forward Nikita Kucherov has tallied two goals in his past three games. He along with fellow linemate, J.T. Brown, have been finding their niche on a line centered by Nate Thompson, which has been making an impact on and off the score sheet.
Lightning – D Keith Aulie (upper body, out), D Victor Hedman (lower body, out), D Brian Lee (knee, out), F Ryan Malone (lower body, out), F Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone, out), F Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia, out); Red Wings – F Justin Abdelkader (upper body, out), D Danny DeKeyser (shoulder, out), F Darren Helm (shoulder, out), G Jimmy Howard (knee, out), F Stephen Weiss (groin, out), F Henrik Zetterberg (lower back, out)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #Bolts @Kucher86 and @jtbrown23 have combined for 35 shots on net since Kucherov was recalled by the #TBLightning.
With the fifth-most wins in the #NHL (tie-16), @BenBishop30 has been victorious in two out of his last three starts.
The #TBLightning’s penalty kill ranks 10th in the #NHL with a 83.9% kill-rate.
"Anytime you lose a game and you sit here and say 'I thought we played well and lost,' it's disappointing. We made some colossal errors that cost us and they capitalized. We have to turn the page. We have Detroit in less than 24 hours and we have to get ready and play like we did Friday without the errors." – Head coach Jon Cooper on loosing the first half of back-to-back games
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