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LIGHTNING (41-24-9, 91 points) vs. DETROIT (34-26-14, 82 points)
SUN; AM 970 WFLA
Last 10: Tampa Bay 7-0-3; Detroit 5-4-1
Heading into the 2013-14 campaign the Lightning had won just one time in Detroit in their 20-year history. Now the Bolts have not only won both games at Joe Louis Arena this season, but all four matchups against their Atlantic Division rival. The Lightning now pursue a season sweep over its new division rival.
After losing four consecutive games in overtime/shootouts, the Lightning have now won back-to-back games in extra time. The Bolts went 13 rounds in the shootout to defeat the New York Islanders Thursday, 3-2. The Bolts then defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in overtime off a 4-on-3 power play goal by Steven Stamkos Saturday.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts' main focus has been collecting points and they have managed to do that for 11 straight games. With four consecutive contests going to overtime however, the Lightning will need to work on playing more effectively in the first half of the game, as they have come out flat to start as of late.
Tampa Bay still remains neck-and-neck with the Montreal Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic Division, as the second-place finisher will be awarded home ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.
The Lightning kept pace with the Canadiens, who also won Saturday to stay two points ahead of Tampa Bay. The Bolts have two games in hand. Montreal sits idle tomorrow, meaning at least one point would give the Bolts the edge in the standings by the end of Sunday.
RED WINGS – The Red Wings have perhaps not had a chance to show off their team's true capabilities throughout the entire campaign with a number of injuries to key players, yet they are still among the teams in the hunt for a 23rd-consecutive postseason berth.
Detroit enters Sunday's game, the second of back-to-backs, with the second and final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with 82 points and eight games remaining on their regular season schedule. The Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs are nipping at their heels, however, with 80 points.
In their most recent contest on Saturday, Darren Helm was moved to the first line due to the team's injury woes and netted a hat trick to defeat division rival Toronto 4-2. It was their second of seven straight Atlantic Division opponents, with Tampa Bay, Boston, Buffalo Sabres (twice) and Montreal still remaining on the Red Wings' season slate.
Captain Steven Stamkos has nine goals in his past nine games, including the overtime game-winner Saturday, and rookie forward Nikita Kucherov has notched two points (one goal, one assist) since returning to the lineup three games ago. Valtteri Filppula managed to extend his point streak to 11 consecutive games with a power-play assist on Stamkos' game-winner Saturday. Filppula has four goals and 11 assists during that span.
Lightning – D Brian Lee (knee, out); Red Wings – Justin Abdelkader (leg), Daniel Cleary (knee), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder), Stephen Weiss (hernia), Henrik Zetterberg (back)
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