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Red Wings 6-3-1; Tampa Bay 3-4-3
NHL Network/Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings meet for the second of five games this season and their first at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. In November, the Bolts won just their second game in franchise history in the Motor City with a 3-2 overtime win compliments to Lightning forward Teddy Purcell’s goal.
Two of the three players who netted tallies for the Bolts back in November’s 3-2 overtime win against Detroit, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, are scratched from Thursday’s tilt due to injury. Captain Henrik Zetterberg, who scored both goals for the Red Wings in the same game will also miss the matchup with a lower back ailment.
LIGHTNING – With five markers on 42 shots, it should have been smooth sailing for Tampa Bay in the nation’s capital Tuesday. Yet they were unable to hold on to an early 3-0 lead, ultimately falling to the Washington Capitals 6-5 in a shootout. The Bolts also found themselves ahead 4-2 and 5-4, but Caps captain Alex Ovechkin’s four goals throughout the evening forced extra time. Unable to score in the five-minute overtime period, Troy Brouwer eventually secured the win for Washington in the fifth round of the skills competition.
Many positives came out of the game for Tampa Bay though, as they scored the most goals in one game on the road this season (five), after netting just four tallies over their past four games. Lightning rookies also accounted for seven points (three goals, four assists), including Nikita Kucherov’s second goal of the year.
RED WINGS – Much like Tampa Bay, the Red Wings have been ill-stricken over the course of the 2013-14 campaign with 12 different players missing time due to injury. The good news is that Detroit has been able to rely on their team’s depth and remain among the tops in the standings. Currently in third place in the Atlantic Division (one point ahead of the Lightning and six points behind the first-place Boston Bruins), the Red Wings had won five of their past seven without one of the NHL’s top players, forward Pavel Datsyuk, in the lineup.
Upon his return from a seven-game absence Tuesday, Datsyuk recorded one goal and one assist in a shootout loss to the Florida Panthers. Detroit now has a 0-5 record in games that go to a shootout and have lost a league-high eight games in overtime/shootouts.
The top line of Ondrej Palat-Martin St. Louis-Tyler Johnson combined for eight points (three goals, five assists) Thursday. They have now had amassed 13 points (five goals, eight assists) since being shuffled together three games ago.
Lightning – D Keith Aulie (upper body, out), D Victor Hedman (lower body, out), F Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body, day-to-day), 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 – D Danny DeKeyser (shoulder, out), G Jonas Gustavsson (hip flexor, day-to-day), F Darren Helm (shoulder, out), F Stephen Weiss (groin, out), F Henrik Zetterberg (lower back, out)
12/4 Recalled Defenseman Matt Taormina from the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #TBLightning’s five road goals Tuesday were a new season high for tallies away from the @TBTimesForum.
Martin St. Louis has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past three games for the #TBLightning.
Despite allowing three power-play goals Tuesday, the #Bolts penalty kill is tied for 12th in the NHL (83%).
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