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

Don’t expect it to be a cake walk.

NHL: APR 19 Red Wings at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME# 25

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, BSDET, SNE, SNW, SNP, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Winging it in Motown

DraftKings Odds: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6.5

I can imagine there is a bit of concern for Tampa Bay Lightning fans after yesterday’s practice. Yes, no Hayden Fleury on the ice is just cause for consternation. So is the fact that Vlad Namestnikov (fresh off his first goal of the season) and Nikita Kucherov were also held out of practice for “body maintenance”.

Read into that what you will. Following the practice, assistant coach Jeff Blashill stated that their status for tonight’s game wouldn’t really be known until after the morning skate so, as of publication, we really don’t know if they’re playing tonight.

There is a chance that the team is giving them an extra day off after a fairly busy week and they will be out there skating around and doing their thing against the Red Wings tonight. However, if they’re not, expect a quick call-up from Syracuse and Rudy Balcers back in the line-up (especially if Fleury isn’t ready to go). If Kucherov or Namestnikov can’t go then the line combinations will likely be completely flipped around as well (Stamkos likely moving up to the top line and Cirelli to the second).

In recent years, it probably wouldn’t matter against the Red Wings as they were in their rebuild mode. However, things are a little different under new head coach (and old friend) Derek LaLonde. Detroit is currently sitting in a wild card spot with 29 points. That’s just two points behind the Lightning entering the game.

It’s been a streaky season for Detroit as their win against the Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak. Before that they had a four-game winning streak. That came after a four-game losing streak. THAT followed a three-game winning streak. So, yeah, streaky.

Offensively and defensively they’ve been pretty much middle of the road as their 3.17 goals per game is 15th in the league and their 3.08 goals allowed per game is tied with the Lightning for 14th in the NHL. Their captain, Dylan Larkin, is leading the way in points with 26 (9 goals, 17 assists). Free agent signee, Dominik Kubalik, has done what he was brought in to do - provide offense - with a team-leading 10 goals (5 on the power play) and 14 assists.

A mix of veterans like David Perron (19 points in 24 games) and young players like Lucas Raymond (15 points in 24 games) and Jonatan Berggren (7 points in 11 games) have provided some depth that has been lacking for Detroit over the past few seasons. Are they at the point where they are Stanley Cup contenders? Not quite, but if they stay healthy they should be hanging around the playoff hunt for most of the season.

There are still some question marks in net where Ville Husso has solid overall numbers at 10-4-3 with a .912 SV% , 2.58 GAA, and a 4.16 GSAx but scuffled lately allowing 10 goals over a three-game stretch before bouncing back in his most recent outing against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It should be a pretty good scrap between two teams that were on their way to building a real rivalry before the Red Wings went into rebuild mode.

We will update the lines when we find out the status of the possibly injured Lightning players.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings Comparison

Game #25 Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit Red Wings
Game #25 Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit Red Wings
Overall Record 15-8-1 12-7-5
Home Record 8-3-1 7-4-3
Road Record 7-5-0 5-3-2
Goals For 84 77
Goals Against 75 76
xGF 82.55 72.57
xGA 75.02 67.29
PP% 29% 22%
PK% 77.9% 78.3%
Stats provided by NHL and Natural Stat Trick

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov (?)

Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn

Vlad Namestnikov (?) - Anthony Cirelli - Ross Colton

Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Mikhail Sergachev

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Zach Bogosian - Nick Perbix

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Detroit Red Wings Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Dominik Kubalik - Dylan Larkin - David Perron

Pius Suter - Michael Rasmussen - Lucas Raymond

Adam Erne - Andrew Copp - Oskar Sundqvist

Jonatan Berggren - Joe Veleno - Austin Czarnik

Defense Pairings

Ben Chiarot - Moritz Seider

Olli Määttä - Filip Hronek

Jake Walman - Jordan Oesterle

Goalies

Ville Husso

Alex Nedeljkovic