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Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings: Will we see a goalie’s NHL debut tonight?

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Eddie Pasquale might get his first NHL game tonight.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Team at Team: Game 29

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Little Caesars (Pizza! Pizza!) Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, FSDT

Opponent SBNation Site: Wingin’ it it Motown

Preview:

The Lightning enter tonight’s game on the second half of a back-to-back. They’re on the road again in Detroit after beating New Jersey last night 5-1. The Red Wings most recent outing was a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

The big story for the Lightning is what the coaches will do in net. Louis Domingue has started eleven consecutive games during Andrei Vasilevskiy’s injury. That’s an incredible workload for a backup. He struggled mightily in the Lighting’s two games before last night. But against the Devils, he rebounded to only allow one goal.

It seems unthinkable that the team would try to start him every game until Vasilevskiy returns. And if they’re going to give him a night off, tonight would be the most likely with the game being on the second half of a road back-to-back against a weak opponent.

But it isn’t like the team has someone behind Domingue with an NHL track record. Eddie Pasquale is next in line but he’s never started an NHL game. It’s understandable that the coaches would be hesitant to turn to him. But given Domingue’s recent struggles and the workload, it seems like tonight should be the night Pasquale gets his first game.

Elsewhere in the lineup, Anton Stralman is still injured but Erik Cernak has done an admirable job filling in for him on the second pair. Adam Erne looks like he’s drawn the short straw for now and will be a healthy scratch despite his excellent play. He’s been better than both Cedric Paquette and Ryan Callahan by a comfortable margin but it seems unlikely he’ll bump either from the lineup. Callahan is a lock because of his role on the penalty kill and his status as a leader. Paquette gives the team a fourth line center without having to bump someone like J.T. Miller into that role.

The Wings will be without Tyler Bertuzzi who was suspended two games for sucker-punching Matt Calvert on the bunch during the game against the Avalanche. Expect Martin Frk to take his place on the third line.

Detroit currently sits in second to last place in the Atlantic Division ahead of only the Florida Panthers. The franchise is in a rough spot with lots of aging players on expensive contracts and not a ton of youth in the organization to get excited about yet. Their best bet for now is to lose games and improve their chances of winning the lottery to get a shot at Jack Hughes.

The brightest spot for them this year has been Andreas Athanasiou emerging as an excellent offensive player. He’s back on the track he appeared to be on prior to a down year last season. Michael Rasmussen has also made an impact joining Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha as the other young forwards that give fans something to look forward to in the coming years.

Comparison chart:

The Wings have been bad this year. Possibly even worse than their record suggests. But over the last ten, games they’ve improved. Their expected goal share has been close to league average buoyed by strong defensive play.

The Lightning continue to play exceptionally well and are among the league leaders in both shot share and expected goal share. They’ve also been shooting a high percentage both at 5v5 and on the power play, which has allowed them to score more goals than would be expected.

On paper, this is a game the Lightning should win. But with the goalie situation in flux, anything can happen. One strong game from Domingue last night doesn’t mean he could do the same two nights in a row. And if Eddie Pasquale gets the start tonight, anything can happen.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller

Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Adam Erne - Danick Martel

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Slater Koekkoek - Anton Stralman (injured)

Goaltenders

Louis Domingue

Eddie Pasquale

Detroit Red Wings

Forward Lines

Justin Abdelkader - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha

Gustav Nyquist - Frans Nielsen - Andreas Athanasiou

Martin Frk - Luke Glendening - Michael Rasmussen

Christoffer Ehn - Jacob De La Rose - Thomas Vanek

Defense Pairings

Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green

Danny DeKesyser - Nick Jensen

Jonathan Ericsson - Dennis Cholowski

Goalies

Jimmy Howard

Jonthan Bernier