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Morning Skate: Red Wings at Lightning - Preview, How to Watch

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NHL: FEB 03 Red Wings at Lightning Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Time: 7:00 PM EST

Place: Amalie Arena

TV: FS-D, SUN

Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM

Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

The Red Wings have a rematch tonight with Tampa after getting embarrassed during their tilt on Wednesday night, losing 5-1, including 3 goals against in the first 5:00 that put that game to bed early. The rough start was compounded by the fact the Wings showed no pushback after the early deficit. That’s another strike against Blashill and his coaching staff. The team started slow and appeared to not be all that upset about it.

Detroit enters the night needing a strong bounce back effort. They’ve lost 8 in a row and despite bringing bodies back into the lineup, were promptly trounced on Wednesday. But part of getting players back from the Covid reserve list, is deciding on which players are getting scratched to make room. Red Wings fans were justly discouraged when the team rolled out a veteran-heavy lineup while the younger guys were left to the press box or taxi squad.

Expect to see a significant shakeup following their poor showing. For one, Filip Zadina is expected to make his return to the ice after practicing Thursday. You may also see the likes of Brome and maybe Smith return. DeKeyser will likely make a return after being given a rest on Wednesday. He’s still trying to get back to form after his lengthy recovery from back surgery. In goal, Jonathan Bernier made the trip down to Tampa, so it’s possible he may make a return tonight. It won’t be a moment too late as Thomas Greiss may need a breather as he continues to try and find his game with the team. Keep an eye for the Game Day Updates for all lineup changes.

Zadina’s return could be a significant one as the youngster was off to a good start through the first four games, showing a lot of growth in his two-way play. The Red Wings sure hope he can pick up where he left off as they are in dire need of some offensive playmakers behind their big guns.

Speaking of those big guns, despite the team’s struggles, Anthony Mantha is on a bit of a tear after being the target of significant criticism to start the season. He’s scored in each of the last three games including the lone tally on Wednesday. He’s seemingly found some chemistry with Taro Hirose and those two may stay together for the short term.

The other leader up front, and in the room, Dylan Larkin is seemingly fighting through some sort of ailment. He’s been slow to get up on several occasions in the last couple of games. The hope is it’s something he can push through get past as the team cannot afford to lose him, particularly right now.

The Wings opponent tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning are singing a much different tune. The Bolts are on a roll having won three in a row and are 6-1-1 on the season, even without superstar Nikita Kucherov. Their captain, Steven Stamkos is off to a good start with 10 points through 8 games. Likewise for standout defenseman Victor Hedman who also has 10 points.

Tampa remains a deep squad that can come at you from all angles, and they feast on teams like Detroit that have no way to combat their depth. If the Wings want to have a chance in this one they’re going to have turn the tables and catch Tampa sleeping at the start. A few timely saves by whomever is manning the pipes is also going to be necessary. Nobody’s expecting an immediate turnaround on special teams either, so it’s probably best for the Red Wings if the penalties in this game are kept to a minimum either way.

Detroit was supposed to be a better team this year. Perhaps not racking up wins, but there were supposed to be less blowouts and losing streaks shouldn’t be approaching double digits already. Can the Wings get it together in time to snap the current streak and split the series with Tampa?