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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings: Can the Bolts grab the season sweep?

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After taking the first three games, the Lightning look to show domination with this season’s last match up with Detroit.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings: Game #58

Time: 7:00 Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast / Streaming: SUN, FS-W

Opponent SBNation Site: Winging it in Motown

Preview:

After a sad dad trip through the northeast, the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves back home in another battle against a low-tier Atlantic Division rival.

Remember when the Red Wings brought in head coach Jeff Blashill back in 2015? Remember all the parallels that the media aligned with his hiring to the Lightnings own Jon Cooper? Both had put in their time with the organizations’ AHL affiliates, both teams with numerous ties to each other’s franchise. Now a few years later, the Wings and Bolts find themselves at drastically different positions not only in the league standings but organizational depth as well.

And as always, a game between these two teams doesn’t seem to go by without the mentioning of GMs Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman. And I suppose in a way I am to blame this time around, but no doubt there will be murmurings from Detroit faithful about how Yzerman will return and bring them back to relevance.

Well, Yzerman is sitting pretty in Tampa Bay, for now.

This will be the Bolts sixth game in the last four days dating back to playing the Kings last Saturday. And though they get the benefit of being at home, the Lightning will have played seven of their last nine games on the road and are likely relishing some time at Amalie Arena. Then again they did have the ultimate home span late January with the All-Star weekend.

This is the fourth and final time the teams will match up this year and the Bolts have won each contest. The Wings (22-23-9) sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and after only putting together 73 points last season, it seems again the Wings will find themselves vying for a high draft stock.

Oh, and of course give Achariya a listen (and hear her tease Red Wings fans about Yzerman) on Winging it in Motown’s recent podcast.

Comparison Chart

Looking at the year as a whole, this is a pretty clear matchup of a good team and a bad team that the Lightning should dominate. But looking at just the last ten games, the Wings appear to be the better team. And that’s quite an indictment of how Tampa has played recently.

The team that was previously one of the best in the league defensively is playing below average in that area. The penalty kill has completely fallen apart. The only thing keeping them competitive recently is an exceptionally high shooting percentage at both 5v5 and 5v4.

Heading into Buffalo on Tuesday seemed like a perfect opportunity to course correct. Unfortunately, the game didn’t go that way. Tonight is another opportunity to move back in the right direction against a weak opponent. Let’s hope it goes better than Tuesday did.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Forward Lines:

Yanni Gourde - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Adam Erne - Vladislav Namestnikov - Cory Conacher

Chris Kunitz - Matthew Peca - Ryan Callahan

Defense Pairings:

Victor Hedman — Anton Stralman

Mikhail Sergachev — Dan Girardi

Braydon Coburn — Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders:

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Detroit Red Wings

Forward Lines:

Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Anthony Mantha

Tomas Tatar - Dylan Larkin - Andreas Athanasiou

Darren Helm - Frans NielsenJustin Abdelkader

Tyler BertuzziLuke Glendening - Martin Frk

Defense Pairings:

Jonathan EricssonTrevor Daley

Niklas KronwallMike Green

Danny DeKeyserNick Jensen

Goaltenders:

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek