Lightning look to rebound while visiting Motown; Bolts at Red Wings preview

WHERE: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
WHEN: 7:30 PM EST
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)

  • Alex Tanguay feels singled out after his benching on Tuesday:

    "I'm working as hard as I can, and I'm watching games, too," Tanguay said. "I made mistakes, but I think out of the un-success we've had the last 10 games, I must not be the only one … and I'm the one who ends up paying the price. I don't think that's 100 percent fair."
    For the record, Jeff Halpern was also benched... So Tanguay wasn't singled out.  Made an example of?  Now that's a different story, and the team didn't exactly respond.
  • Vincent Lecavalier hopes he's turned the corner after his three-point performance in Nashville.

    "I'm hoping it's going to build," he said Wednesday. "I've been feeling better as the year has gone on. Scoring chances have definitely been there, so, yeah, I'm hoping to keep going."
    ...now just when are they going to get on Martin St. Louis' back as much as they've gotten on Lecavalier and Tanguay for lack-of-production?  I say that because of the hypocrisy, not because of dislike for St. Louis.
  • Victor Hedman took a Kurtis Foster slap shot off his foot during practice yesterday.

    Hedman continued practicing but took any chance he could to keep weight off his left foot. He limped to the locker room after practice and limped through the arena hallway toward the team bus with his left shoe untied.

    He's a hockey player, of course, and said, "I can play."

  • The Detroit Red Wings' defensive corp is in flux with thanks to injuries, but head coach Mike Babcock is dismissive:

    "If we're waiting for them, we're not making the playoffs,'' he said. "So our attitude is just find a way to win every night. I think guys have done a real good job with that, played really hard, given us a chance. That's all you can ask for. We're hanging in there.''

Detroit is an even point better than the Lightning on both the Power Play (19.4% compared to 18.4%) and penalty kill (80.4% compared to 79.4%).  That puts Detroit right in the middle of the league in both categories (15th and 16th, respectively).  It's also a sign of the Lightning actually improving somewhere in their game while the team flounders in the standings.

Detroit, however, also leads the league in shots...  Averaging 33.9.  With how porous the Lightning's goaltending was in Nashville, Mike Smith (the likely starter) better be out to redeem himself for the sieve effort that began his mop-up duty for Antero Niittymaking (13 shots, 10 saves, first two shots faced were goals).

The Red Wings are also coming off a trio of 3-2 wins, the last being over the Phoenix Coyotes.  They've won four of their past five (while the Lightning have one of their past ten).  Henrik Zetterberg leads the Wings with 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists).

After this game, the Bolts head to St. Louis to face the Blues tomorrow before ending the road trip on Long Island this weekend. 

 

We'll have line combos for the Lightning posted later, here is what Detroit's forward line combo likely will be (by way of Mlive.com ):

Bertuzzi-Datsyuk-Holmstrom
Leino-Zetterberg-Eaves
Draper-Abdelkader-Miller
May-Newbury-Maltby

[Note by John Fontana, 12/17/09 5:27 PM EST ]  The lineup is admittedly best guess.  Zenon Konopka is supposed to be hurting, Steve Downie suffered a concussion in Nashville and Hedman is hurt.  I expect Zenon to play but smart moves would have the others rest. 

 

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

 

(updated December 17, 2009 by RawCharge subject to change)

Forward Lines:

Ryan Malone -Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Alex Tanguay - Vincent Lecavalier - Jeff Halpern
Blair Jones - Paul Szczechura - James Wright
Todd Fedoruk - Zenon Konopka - Stephane Veilleux


Defense:

 Mattias Ohlund | Andrej Meszaros
David Hale | Lukas Krajicek
Matt Walker | Matt Smbay

Goalies

Mike Smith (starter)
Antero Niittymaki

 


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