Morning Skate: Lightning at Red Wings Preview

Just hold still. Almost....got it..... - Mike Carlson

Game 35

5:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit Plus

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

This is getting pretty frustrating. The Wings are a better team than this, or at least they should be a better team than they are right now. Something isn't working, something isn't clicking, or something needs to change. This team is drastically different than any other Wings team I've ever known; we're younger, more inexperienced, significantly weaker on defense, relying more on goaltending, and missing something on offense... like goals. The Wing have only scored 1 goal in 3 of their last 4 games. You're not going to win many games only scoring 1 goal. Sometimes it's difficult not to get frustrated, angry, and start setting things on fire.

The Wings didn't play a terrible game last night, but it's another loss and we only scored one measly goal. Gustavsson was not the blame for us losing the game, but Petr Mrazek will get the start in net tonight, and was slated to do so yesterday in practice. Justin Abdelkader will miss the game after receiving an awful hit to the head from Deryk Engelland. Engalland has an in person hearing on Wednesday with Brendan Shanahan. With Justin Abdelkader out of the lineup, *Boner Alert* *Boner Alert* TOMAS JURCO HAS BEEN CALLED UP FROM GRAND RAPIDS FOR THE GAME TONIGHT!!! *WEE OO* *WEE OO*. Jurco is the Griffins leading scorer and is 8th in the league with 27 points (11G 16A) in 26 games.

It looks like Samuelsson will remain a healthy scratch and we'll get to see Jurco make his NHL debut. This will be his 3rd game in 3 nights for the 20 year old Slovak after the Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals in very physical back-to-back games Friday and Saturday; but you know what? Despite these being terrible circumstances to call Jurco up, I'm thrilled to get to see him play with the Wings, and I'd still take his tired butt over Samuelsson. Darren Helm was moved to IR to make room for Jurco to come up.

The Lightning were shut out by the Devils last night 3-0 in New Jersey and I guess the up side to that scenario is that Tampa also played a game last night so the teams will at least have had equal "rest" or lack thereof.

With Abdelkader out tonight and Jurco called up, I'll take a stab at the lines we'll see, and then we'll update later if any news comes out as to what the lines will actually be.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Todd Bertuzzi Pavel Datsyuk Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar Johan Franzen Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller Joakim Andersson Tomas Jurco
Daniel Cleary Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson

Injuries: Jimmy Howard (knee), Stephen Weiss (groin) Abdelkader (possible concussion) Darren Helm (shoulder)

LTIR: Danny DeKeyser (shoulder), Henrik Zetterberg (back)

LIGHTNING THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
18-11-3 (39 pts; 3rd in Atlantic) Record 15-10-9 (39 pts; 4th in Atlantic)
2.59 (17th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.62 (15th in NHL)
2.47 (12th) Goals Against Per Game 2.50 (13th)
15.9% (21st) Power Play % 18.8% (12th)
83.9% (10th) Penalty Kill % 84.2% (9th)
Steven Stamkos (14 goals) Goal Leader Pavel Datsyuk (13 goals)
Martin St. Louis (30 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (30 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Ben Bishop. Bishop is a heck of a goalie, he's big, he's athletic, and he's good at stopping pucks. The first meeting between these two teams went to overtime, and the second went to a shootout where Bishop stopped all 6 Detroit shooters. In low, close scoring games between these two teams, Bishop has made a hug difference; and without Stamkos the Lightning's offense has taken a big hit.

X-Factor: Martin St. Louis, especially if this game goes to a shoot out again.

Familiar Faces: Since we just played them, and we've already been through this twice this season.. They're all familiar.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Tampa): Insert your own pictures of The Captain in the comments.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Tampa): I'm already tired of losing to them.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 25-5-2-2 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Lightning.

  • Last 10 games: Lightning 4-3-3. Detroit 5-3-2.

  • The Wings are currently 2-0-0 on Sundays.

  • Mrazek hasn't played the Lightning yet, but he had a shutout against Edmonton already this season and has a 1.34 GAA and .938 SV% in 3 career NHL games.

Prediction: Jurco Boners for everyone.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!
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