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Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Preview and Game Day Thread

Will the Bolts bounce back after yesterday’s loss?

NHL: DEC 06 Red Wings at Lightning Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings : GAME# 32

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Little Caesars Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, BSDET, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Winging it in Motown

Yesterday wasn’t the best day for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they were beaten by the Toronto Maple Leafs like it was Game One of their last spring’s playoff series. If not for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 36 shots on that night, the loss could have been even bigger. Thereby the Lightning’s longest winning streak this season also came to an end. Interestingly enough, four of their latest losses happened against the teams from their division.

The biggest issue from yesterday’s game was a sluggish Lightning offense. The team, which scored at least four goals in each of their previous five games, generated just 19 shots on the Leafs’ net last night. The Leafs kept the Bolts out of their zone, while increasing pressure on the opponent’s net. The Lightning ended the game with 36.06% of expected goal share and with all of their top lines being outplayed by the Leafs.

Now the Lightning face the Detroit Red Wings in their second game in two nights. Much like the Leafs, the Red Wings created lots of problems for them in their previous meeting. That game was the opposite of the yesterday’s game in a sense that the Lightning were the ones who drove play on that night, but it eventually ended with the same result and two allowed empty-netters at the end of the game. Ville Husso, who essentially stole that victory for Detroit, is expected to start against the Lightning tonight.

The Lightning started their longest winning streak so far this season after that loss, while things got much worse for Detroit. The Red Wings went 0-4-2 in their last six games and dropped five points behind the last wild card spot. The Red Wings came close to ending their losing streak in the latest game against the Washington Capitals, but couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead during that game.

Part of the problems behind their recent slump is the performance of their special units. The penalty kill they relied on during the early stages of the season has dropped to 18th place in the NHL and the power play isn’t exactly succeeding, scoring just three goals during their losing streak, despite having 22 opportunities over that span. Also not helping is their injury situation, Dylan Larkin is still dealing with his hand injury, which forced him to miss one game, Filip Hronek is also possibly playing through an injury and Olli Maatta has just recovered from pneumonia and still isn’t in his full shape.

After tonight’s game in Detroit, the Lightning have one more game before Christmas against the Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo area is currently expected to being hit by a powerful winter storm by Friday, which could complicate the return home for the Lightning.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Comparison

Game # 29 Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit Red WIngs
Game # 29 Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit Red WIngs
Overall Record 20-10-1 13-11-7
Home Record 12-4-1 7-6-3
Road Record 8-6-0 6-5-4
Goals For 111 90
Goals Against 89 99
xGF 105.13 89.9
xGA 97.58 92.39
PP% 27.2% 20.2
PK% 80.4% 77.2
Stats from NHL and Natural Stat Trick

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Anthony Cirelli - Pat Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix

Mikhail Sergachev - Zach Bogosian

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Detroit Red Wings Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Michael Rasmussen - Dylan Larkin - David Perron

Adam Erne - Andrew Copp - Lucas Raymond

Dominik Kubalik - Pius Suter - Oskar Sundqvist

Jonatan Berggren - Joe Veleno - Austin Czarnik

Defense Pairings

Ben Chiarot - Moritz Seider

Jake Walman - Filip Hronek

Olli Määttä - Jordan Oesterle

Goalies

Ville Husso

Alex Nedeljkovic