Flailings at the Joe; Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings game 4 preview

Team history at Joe Louis Arena is a failure... at least during the regular season.

Fast fact to mull over that goes beyond the moment and continues to stoke the rival aspect of the series: The Lightning last won a game at Joe Louis Arena on November 9th, 2014 in a 4-3 shootout victory. The last time the Bolts beat Detroit in regulation at the Joe was... I'm not sure. I'm not talking playoffs here, people, as Tampa Bay did take two games at the Joe during the 2015 NHL playoffs (game 4 was a 3-2 overtime victory while game 6 went 5-2 in regulation). I am talking regulation, regular season win by the Lightning at Joe Louis Arena. Tampa Bay has a thinner all-time record at the Joe with thanks to the fact the Red Wings were in the Western Conference for most of the Lightning's very existence and the NHL's schedule was spotty with cross-conference play at times. That translates to Tampa Bay only playing Detroit once (if at all) certain seasons in the past before the grand realignments of recent years.

It's a little annoying that finding the Bolts all-time record at the Joe wasn't something a Google search provided quickly, or Bing for that matter. If I had more time on my hands, going through the Lightning's all-time results through their schedule page would have found what I'm referencing here - the Bolts last regular-season regulation win at Joe Louis Arena. I just don't have the time to do the search now. GeoFitz4 passed on the basic numbers of Tampa Bay's record in Detroit, and it's not positive: 2 regulation wins, 17 losses, 1 overtime/shootout win and 2 ties.

As was noted (and which retains grander relevancy in all-time record stuff), the Lightning has won games at the Joe in the NHL Playoffs. While the 1st win was an overtime deal, the second had a more offensively-ample final score. Look for yourself at the box score of the April 27th 5-2 win, it's the same Lightning team at play with the exception of two missing-by-way-of-injury players and one retiree (the former are Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman, the latter is Brendan Morrow). J.T. Brown was not in the lineup that night, though neither was Jonathan Drouin. Both could be major factors if the events of Game 3 continue.

It's not that Jonathan Drouin was a hindrance, or the lack of J.T. Brown marred Lightning efforts, it's just that the wheels were impaired all night long. The Lightning only mustered 16 shots on Petr Mrazek, who's posted a 2.33 GAA in his efforts this season in general and a .924 save percentage). Game 3's shout effort was a far cry from where Mrazek had been in two appearances against Tampa Bay this season. His collective split against the Bolts: 41 shots faced, 6 goals allowed, a 3.74 GAA and a .854 save percentage. Mrazek failed during two appearance; the 41 shots faced ads up to a fraction more than 20 shots a game.

If the Lightning shoot the puck, they've got a better chance. That's a general truth in hockey, isn't it? You can't score without shooting and limited shot attempts raises the chance for non-scoring.

That also goes back to the ample time of game 3 spent on the penalty kill by the Lightning. I don't want to dwell on that and go through the numbers but to kill offense is to be continuously a man down.

Black Ace Note: Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis actually joined the Lightning sometime last week, his official recall by the club came on Monday. Gudlevskis, 23, had 41 appearances in the crease for the Syracuse Crunch and posted a 2.83 GAA with a .907 save percentage. He also had a lone start at the NHL level this season (way back in October) and went to overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks before allowing a goal (1.00 GAA, .960 save percentage).

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