7:30p ET, Tampa Bay Times Forum
TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NHLN-US
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
On paper, these two teams have very similar stats, and the Lightning also find themselves in a difficult position with Steven Stamkos out for the next couple months. Meanwhile the Wings are without their Captain Henrik Zetterberg who is now on LTIR, Stephen Weiss (whose groin wasn't actually healed), Danny DeKeyser, and Jimmy Howard, who tweaked his knee in practice so Petr Mrazek will be backing up Jonas Gustavsson.
One point is better than zero points, but the Wings need to start getting two points more often than they have been and this would be a great time to start. There are plenty of excuses and reasons, and rationalizations to go around, but the Wings need to win more games. It still seems incredible that we're 3rd in the division and 4th in the conference, because it feels surprising that we have even that many points. On the bright side however, as much as we've struggled to win games and play well, we're still 3rd in the division, 4th in the conference, the Mule is hot, Tatar is flashing us, Nyquist is in his rightful place, and we've managed to win some games even without Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, and DeKeyser in the lineup.
Tampa Bay is only 1 point behind us in the standings going into tonight. I'd like to keep them behind us. This is the second of 5 meetings this season, and the Wings fell 3-2 in the last meeting in overtime, with Zetterberg scoring both Wings goals. Everyone has to pitch in and take care of business to get a win, forwards, defense, and goalies. Period. End of analysis. Stop falling apart in the 3rd period and giving up so many goals, rekindle your killer instinct, put the pedal to the metal, and go kick some a$$.
The Expected Lineup
|Gustav Nyquist||Pavel Datsyuk||Todd Bertuzzi|
|Justin Abdelkader||Johan Franzen||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Tomas Tatar||Joakim Andersson||Mikael Samuelsson|
|Daniel Cleary||Cory Emmerton||Drew Miller|
|Niklas Kronwall||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Kyle Quincey||Brendan Smith|
|Brian Lashoff||Jakub Kindl|
|Jonas Gustavsson (starting)|
Injuries: Darren Helm (shoulder) Stephen Weiss (crotchital region) Jimmy Howard (knee)
LTIR: Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) Henrik Zetterberg (back)
|RED WINGS||THE MATCH-UP||LIGHTNING|
|15-9-8 (38 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)||Record||17-10-3 (37 pts; 4th in Atlantic)|
|2.72 (113th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.73 (12th in NHL)|
|2.50 (13th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.50 (12th)|
|20.4 (9th)||Power Play %||17.0 (20th)|
|84.9 (8th)||Penalty Kill %||83.0 (12th)|
|Pavel Datsyuk (13 goals)||Goal Leader||Steven Stamkos (14 goals)|
|Henrik Zetterberg (30 points)||Points Leader||Martin St. Louis (30 points)|
Player to Fear: Valtteri Filppula is third on the team in goals and points, and I've no doubt he'll get up a little extra to play his former team. He only had 1 point in his last 5 games, so he's probably due for a hat trick or something.
X-Factor: Ben Bishop is a very good goalie and as we've already experienced this season, he can be a difference maker.
Familiar Faces: Hey, that Fill-a-poo-la guy used to play for us.
Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Tampa Bay):
Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Tampa Bay): Dick F****** Panik. Last Spring Panik played for the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa's AHL team) against the Griffins in the Cup finals. In game 2 Panik charged Tomas Jurco in a dangerous dirt bag move. Then after the game says to the media that he promises the Crunch will win all 3 middle games in Grand Rapids... they didn't. During game 3, Dick concussed Adam Almquist without even getting a penalty, much less a suspension,, THEN went on to score a goal right after the hit. Play continued, no penalty, no "hey look there's a guy STILL laying on the ice, not moving after being leveled" whistle or anything. Adam missed the rest of the playoffs with a concussion. In game 4, that goon Gustav Nyquist "speared" Panik and got ejected from the game. I was there and it was bull Sh**, even the Syracuse reporter admitted afterwards that he thought Panik got hit in the wrist by Nyquist's stick, instead of in the balls like he portrayed. The ref's bought it though and Goose was kicked out of the game. Though Dick didn't have any problem playing the rest of the game and beind just fine once Goose was ejected. Funny huh? Panik has a hearing the with the NHL department of player safety for his hit Tuesday night on the Washington Capitals' Karl Alzner. Way to go, Dick.
Bullets of Knowledge
- The Red Wings are 25-5-2-1 (W-L-T-OTL) All-Time against the Lightning
- Last 10 games: Tampa 3-4-3. Detroit 5-4-1
- The Wings are currently 2-1-1 on Thursdays
- Jonas Gustavsson is 3-0-3 with a 2.62 GAA and .914 SV% in 6 career games against the Lightning.
Double Plus Good: As a special bonus, not only is there Red Wings hockey tonight, but the recap after the game will be a live episode of WiiM Radio! Stick around after the game and listen to Jeff be awesome while J.J. makes fart jokes, Graham apologies on their behalf, and laugh as Tyler
makes fun of them [has to miss this one because of work]. Good times will be had by all.