Morning Skate: Red Wings vs Lightning

The Wings get their first shot at revenge

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI


Radio: 97.1 The Ticket/1270 AM

Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

The Red Wings have turned in two opposite performances in their first two games, but the end result in each was the same. A 4-0 trouncing of the Maple Leafs was followed by a 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes, a game in which Petr Mrazek stood on his head to steal 2 points.

That last sentence may seem familiar to tonight's opponent. The Tampa Bay Lightning are not only a trendy pick to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, they are also the team that ended the Red Wings' season last year in a thrilling 7-game first round series. Try as he might, Mrazek was unable to shut out the Bolts in Game 7, and the Lightning went on to the Final, only to lose to the Blackhawks.

Tonight marks the first time the Wings face the Bolts after last year's defeat, and revenge is always on the mind of the losing team. While the Lightning made a few tweaks to an already very strong team, the team they'll be facing underwent several big changes and will look very different from the team that they defeated last year. The Lightning will get their first look at Jeff Blashill and his team, which includes new faces like Dylan Larkin, Brad Richards and Mike Green.

The big story in Tampa, besides replicating last year's strong playoff performance, is whether Steven Stamkos is playing his final season for the Lightning. He is entering the final year of his contract and will be without a doubt the biggest free agent to hit the market in a very long time. Tampa fans will forgive Wing fans if they don't sympathize with the headaches that come with the many questions that come with this distraction, but rest assured that should he move on, a very strong replacement can be found.

Jimmy Howard will get the start for the Red Wings, and the only question regarding the lineup is whether Darren Helm is cleared to play. If he is, Alexey Marchenko is likely to be sent down to Grand Rapids, at least temporarily, as no one was placed on waivers yesterday. The lines were a little different in practice yesterday, so we might see some changes there.

Last year the Wings struggled against the Atlantic, going 10-12-8 within the division. That included a 1-2-1 record against the Lightning and 0-2-2 record against the Canadiens, two teams the Wings expect to compete with for top spot in the division. A win tonight would go a long way to establishing the idea that this year, the Wings are serious about winning the Atlantic.

The Expected Lineup


Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Dylan Larkin
Tomas Tatar Brad Richards Johan Franzen
Gustav Nyquist Riley Sheahan Teemu Pulkkinen
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Darren Helm/Landon Ferraro


Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Mike Green
Brendan Smith Jakub Kindl


Jimmy Howard (starting)
Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Alexey Marchenko, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco

Injuries: Pavel Datsyuk, Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm (maybe)

No-Man's Land: Daniel Cleary (At Home Depot picking up materials for projects one does when one is about to retire)

The Expected Lightning Lineup


Jonathan Drouin Steven Stamkos Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat Tyler Johnson Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn Valtteri Filppula Erik Condra
Brian Boyle Vladislav Namestikov J.T. Brown


Victor Hedman Anton Stralman
Matt Carle Jason Garrison
Braydon Coburn Andrej Sustr


Ben Bishop
Kevin Poulin

Scratches: Nikita Nesterov

Injuries: Mattias Ohlund, Andrei Vasilevski, Cedric Paquette

    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.