Morning Skate: Red Wings at Lightning

7:30p ET, Amalie Arena

Tampa, FL


Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket // 1270 AM CBS Sports Radio

Bolts Blog: Raw Charge

Another big two points on the line tonight as the Red Wings take on the Lightning to close out the four game road trip. The Flyers started their own four game road trip against the Islanders last night, at this point I don't know what happened but it was probably not a meteorite strike, so I'm going to boldly say somebody won the game. The Islanders are just ahead of us and the Flyers are just behind us, both with a game in hand, so I hope it ended in regulation. But back to the important team, the Red Wings. I'm pumped for a high intensity game where the Red Wings put in 60 minutes of solid effort and come away with the win.

Overall record:

29-10-2-3 (W-L-T-OL)

A historical moment:

It's hard to believe that Steve Yzerman has been the Lightning's GM for almost 6 years, in an alternate universe he accepted the job with the Minnesota Wild and gets a solid ten hours of sleep every night. I'm going to take you back to 2011 and Stevie Y's first visit home to the Joe as a Tampa man, but only because I want to think about Tomas Holmstrom batting in a pass from Nick Lidstrom for a big goal.

Know the enemy:

After starting the year mowing down the competition, the Lightning have been having an ok but not great month of March. They just beat the Coyotes, but before that they lost to the Stars and the Maple Leafs (by 3 goals). They're starting to feel the pressure from teams nipping at their heels in the standings and, similar to the Red Wings, have at times struggled to maintain intensity. They played a solid game against the Coyotes, and will be looking to build momentum as they begin a six game homestand. Future Red Wing Steven Stamkos and future apiarist Nikita Kucherov are their main goal scorers, so shutting them down will be critical. Keep an eye on Victor Hedman as well, he's their primary setup man. Last I heard, Ryan Callahan was questionable and Valtteri Filppula is on the mend but not in the lineup for tonight.

The Coaching match-up:

Jeff Blashill will be facing Jon Cooper, who you AHL fans may remember coached the Admirals to victory and did a great job with the Crunch during his short tenure. Coop coaches teams to championships, it's kinda his thing, but we'll have to wait and see if the Lightning ever get there under his leadership. He has less hockey playing experience than a lot of NHL coaches, but it hasn't slowed him down.

Coach Fact: Jon Cooper has a law degree

Closing thoughts:

So the powerplay scored twice against the Panthers and has me questioning my entire existence, I'm eager to see if it was a fluke or a sign of good things to come. We're all waiting for Mantha to get his goal, he's been close and has been playing hard, maybe tonight is his night. Blah blah blah Ben Bishop stats, but how about we score four or five on him anyway? After all, Tampa Bay Lightning is no match for Greece Lightning. As far as our defense goes, I'm working on a plan to replace Jonathan Ericsson with a couple of ducks taped to a coat rack, if he doesn't have a turnover leading to a Lightning goal you'll know my plan has succeeded. Jimmy is our netminder tonight and he's going to do an awesome job.



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.