Last 10: Tampa Bay (1-7-2); Detroit (6-3-1)
Season Series: This is the first and only meeting between the Bolts and Wings this season.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay’s special teams have warranted positive results recently. Through three games on their current six-game road trip, the Lightning have killed off all 12 opposing power play chances, while Vincent Lecavalier and Kurtis Foster revived the power play with a pair of goals with the man advantage on Tuesday against Nashville. The Lightning rank tied for third in the NHL for most power play opportunities with 141, including 82 on the road. Coming into tonight, Detroit has won three in a row.
LIGHTNING – The back half of the Lightning’s six-game road trip begins tonight against the Red Wings, followed by the second of back-to-back games tomorrow night in St. Louis. The Bolts will conclude the trip on Long Island on Monday before returning to the St. Pete Times Forum for a five-game home stand. On Tuesday against Nashville, coach Rick Tocchet dressed eight defensemen in favor of forwards Alex Tanguay and Jeff Halpern. It didn’t seem to negatively impact the scoring, however, as Vincent Lecavalier tallied his first two-goal game of the season and led all skaters with three points. In addition, Steven Stamkos, who leads the team in goals, snapped an eight-game drought with his 18th of the season which ranks tied for fourth among all NHL goal scorers. Kurtis Foster, who played in a forward role against the Predators, also had two points. All three look to continue the trend tonight for the Bolts, who seek to get back toward the top of the Southeast Division race.
RED WINGS – This is the second game at the Joe Louis Arena in four nights, and the last until two days before Christmas, with Detroit traveling to Dallas and Chicago in between. The Red Wings go for their fourth consecutive victory tonight after battling back from a two-goal deficit against the Ducks on Dec. 11, followed by an overtime win at Nashville and a 3-2 win against Phoenix on Monday. Another win would certainly be refreshing for Detroit, considering the team’s 39 points approaching the midpoint of the season is somewhat foreign for a team that has been a perennial powerhouse for years past. The Wings do have a long list of injuries to key players, and will be fortunate if that number does not increase after tonight’s game, being that Jonathan Ericsson made an early exit in Detroit’s last game on Monday against the Coyotes.
Who’s Hot: - Vincent Lecavalier has tallied eight points in his last seven games and Martin St. Louis has recorded seven in his last six.
- Detroit’s Drew Miller, a former member of the Lightning, has three points in his last two contests and Todd Bertuzzi has recorded four goals in his last three.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Steve Downie (upper body, day-to-day); RED WINGS – Andreas Lilja (concussion, out indefinitely), Johan Franzen (knee, out four-six months), Valtteri Filppula (wrist, out eight weeks), Jason Williams (leg, out eight weeks), Dan Cleary (shoulder, out four weeks), Darren Helm (wrist, day-to-day) and Niklas Kronwall (knee, out four-eight weeks).
Quotable: “We played hard. I enjoyed watching the effort. There were some goals there, not clearing the front of the net. We need to do a better job of sealing off the crease. That's something the coaches have to keep hammering on. When the pressure is on, you have to make the right decisions.” – Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet
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