7:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena
TV: FSD, CBC, CNBC, TVAS
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Lightning Blog: Raw Charge
If you told me a week ago that the Red Wings were going to be down 2-0 in this series to Tampa Bay, I would have believed you. The Lightning are a good team, with a top line that ran roughshod over Detroit in the seven-game series a year ago, and the Wings struggled to maintain consistency down the stretch.
If you told me a week ago that the Red Wings were going to be up 2-0 in this series to Tampa Bay, I also would have believed you. The Lightning are a good team, but they’re missing their captain and leading goal-scorer in Steven Stamkos and their best defenseman in Anton Strålman.
Here’s the thing: the Red Wings could honestly be winning this series right now. They’ve gotten looks on offense and they haven’t been sunk by their goaltending, but they’ve been making too many mistakes that Tampa has capitalized on and haven’t done the same. They’ve been near-perfect on the penalty kill, but they’ve been near-absolute failures on the power play. They’re shooting themselves in the foot more than the Lightning have simply dominated the matchup.
This gives me hope, but only if the Wings make the adjustments necessary to rectify their mistakes. Part of that is cutting out the dumb post-whistle garbage they’ve let themselves get roped into the last two games. Part of that is changing personnel and deployment. With the series going back to Joe Louis, we might see this happen now that the Wings get last change.
The Wings had an optional practice yesterday after flying back to Michigan late. Any word of potential changes will come from today’s skate, though I’m sure “decisions will be made after warmups.” Seeing as our shorthanded savior Joakim Andersson wasn’t used on the penalty kill at all last game save for the last minute of play, we might see him come out in favor of someone like Tomas Jurco. We also have to wonder if the Wings will try a different matchup for the Lightning’s speedy, deadly top line.
The Lightning, on the other hand, will be without JT Brown for the rest of the series with an upper-body injury thought to be a broken hand from a blocked shot. Our Tampa counterpart blog has a few options for Brown’s replacement: Erik Condra could enter the lineup, Brian Boyle could move up a line, or Jon Cooper could go with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen like we’ve seen in the past. They also propose that the Bolts make some changes now that they’re the road team. We’ll keep an eye out for changes here as well.
Red Wings Expected Lineups
|Jimmy Howard (starting)
Lightning Expected Lineups
|Ben Bishop (starting)
|46-31-5 (97 pts; 2nd in Atlantic)
|Regular Season Record
|41-30-11 (93 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)
|2.73 (12th in NHL)
|Goals Per Game
|2.55 (23rd in NHL)
|Goals Against Per Game
|Power Play %
|Penalty Kill %
|Steven Stamkos (36 goals)
|Dylan Larkin (23 goals)
|Nikita Kucherov (66 points)
|Henrik Zetterberg (50 points)
Let’s Go Red Wings!!!
Game Day Prediction Contest
Would you like to predict the outcome of the game and potentially become internet famous? Well you’re in luck, because here’s your opportunity. Here’s how it works.
Make your game predictions on the winning team, final score, and who the Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated in the questions. If you don’t use those formats, your answers will be disregarded. All submissions are timestamped and will be accepted only until the official game start time. All other submissions after that will be disregarded. Only one submission per person, please. POTG will be determined by the collective of WiiM writers.
Each correct winning team prediction is worth 1 point. Each correct player of the game prediction is worth 2 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct you’ll receive 15 points.