Time: 5:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: Fox SUN, NBCSN, SN1
Opponent SBNation Site: Winging it in Motion
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s homestand continues with the first game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are heading into this two-game series as an obvious underdog, rolling out a six-game losing streak and sitting at the lowest position in the Central Division, while the Bolts are sharing second place with the Florida Panthers one point behind Carolina
As already mentioned a million times elsewhere, the Red Wings are deep in a rebuilding process. The team has a diverse and talented pool of prospects, however most of them are still very young, that’s why the Red Wings are trying to surround them with more experienced players such as Marc Staal, Bobby Ryan and even former Lightning player Vlad Namestnikov, for whom the Red Wings have become the fifth team since his departure from Tampa Bay in 2018.
During the offseason Detroit was one of the teams who reportedly could help the Lightning with their cap space issues by taking Tyler Johnson’s contract, but it didn’t come to that point. We still don’t know how serious the talks between the two teams were, but instead the Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman had chosen to sign another center forward in Namestnikov, with whom he’s familiar from his stint with the Lightning.
Newly named captain Dylan Larkin is currently leading the team with nine points in ten games. Tyler Bertuzzi, next on the Red Wings roster in scoring, won’t help his team tonight against the Bolts after getting injured in the first game against the Panthers and will miss the next 4-6 games. The Red Wings also can’t rely on Filip Zadina, who’s still on the COVID-19 protocol list, but is expected to be available on Friday.
On the other hand Robby Fabbri attended a practice yesterday and will return to the lineup tonight after spending last two weeks in quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test. Another former Lightning player Adam Erne is also expected to return to the lineup.
Sounds like Fabbri and Erne will play Wednesday for Red Wings against #tblightning, Zadina possibly Friday.— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) February 2, 2021
After the two successful games against the Nashville Predators, the Lightning are not expected to make big changes in their line combinations. The only question is if they will continue to use the 11/7 line-up with Alex Volkov as a healthy scratch. With a relatively weaker opponent we could also see Curtis McElhinney making his debut this season in one of the next two games: so far Andrei Vasilevskiy started in all seven games.
The game is scheduled at an unusual time – 5:30 PM on a weekday, so if you don’t want to miss this game, don’t forget to set a reminder. The second game against the Red Wings will be played on Friday’s night.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Steven Stamkos
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Blake Coleman - Yanni Gourde - Barclay Goodrow
Pat Maroon - Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote
Detroit Red Wings Lines
Robby Fabbri - Dylan Larkin - Bobby Ryan
Taro Hirose - Vadislav Namestnikov - Anthony Mantha
Mathias Brome - Valtteri Filppula - Givani Smith
Adam Erne - Luke Glendening - Darren Helm
Filip Hronek - Patrik Nemeth
Danny Dekesyer - Christian Djoos
Marc Staal - Troy Stecher