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Gameday Updates: Red Wings at Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings
When you see the defense turn over the puck for the fifth time in one shift
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Unfortunately, we’re still best-guessing on the Red Wings lines right now because after two straight games of not showing up, why put additional strain on their legs?

Both Athanasiou and DeKeyser skated today and Ted Kulfan sure thinks it looks like AA is going, so if that’s the case look for him on the 2nd PP unit and with his practice linemates Helm and Nielsen (at least for one shift). We’ll keep an eye out for additional clues on what exactly Blashill is thinking for how to put together the forward lines and what to do with Frk, but there’s no point in taking a shot in the dark right now.

(The linked tweet is confirmation that Vasilevskiy is starting for Tampa)

With that, the Lightning would be playing an 11/7 setup, so things look like this, but with 11 forwards, you’ll see a lot of double-shifting out of the top six.

Namestnikov-Stamkos-Kucherov
Palat-Point-Gourde
Kunitz-Brown-Callahan
Killorn-Johnson

Hedman-Dotchin
Sergachev-Stralman
Coburn-Girardi
Sustr (paired at times w/Hedman &Coburn)

Vasilevskiy
Budaj

Keys to the Game

Defense, Defense, Defense.

The Lightning score a lot of goals, and our defense couldn’t stop an offensive rush with the broad side of a barn. The Wings look ok when the forwards are sharp and the goaltending is sharper, but when either falters our crumbling defense is all the more obvious. The Lightning have a lot of players who can put points on the board, so consistently solid defense is critical.

Powerplays and Penalty Kills.

The Red Wings take too many penalties, not too too much, but just enough too much that it costs us...too much. The Lightning are right there with us in taking penalties and their penalty kill is only slightly less effective than ours. But they score plenty of goals at even strength and their powerplay is a commanding 30.8% while ours is...14.3%. Woof.

Of course, 14 of our penalty kill minutes don’t even count because they were penalties called against Dylan Larkin, who would never!!