(Not much of a) Tampa Bay Lightning versus Detroit Red Wings preview

Just a few comments leading in to tonights game agaisnt the Detroit Red Wings.

Where:  Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
When: 7:30 PM EST | Tickets: Check availability
Media: Sun Sports, NHL Network (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio)
Opponent Coverage: Winging It In Motown, Abel to Yzerman

It had to go all the way to the shootout to get resolved, and the end result for the team was a single point. That statement applies to both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings when talking about their Tuesday nights.  While Tampa Bay participated in an Ovi-dominated thriller at the Verizon Center in Washington, the crew from Motown played a much tighter game against the Panthers in Sunrise, taking a 2-2 game into overtime and then the shootout.

The end result was the Atlantic Division standings remaining the same:

Atlantic Standings

Boston 31 21 8 2 44
Montreal 32 19 10 3 41
Detroit 32 15 9 8 38
Tampa Bay 30 17 10 3 37
Toronto 32 16 13 3 35
Ottawa 32 12 14 6 30
Florida 32 10 17 5 25
Buffalo 31 7 22 2 16

(updated 12.12.2013 at 9:42 AM EST)

Does this add to the weight of tonight's contest between the Bolts and the winged Wheel?  Oh, absolutely, but even more so because the two clubs square off again on Sunday in Detroit.  Two games against a division rival in such close proximity while you're jockeying for position in the standings always adds weight to these games - or they should.

And Ben Bishop will be out to redeem himself after Tuesday's effort that saw him give up five regulation goals and 3 in the shootout. That's just not Ben Bishop that we've seen this season, that's something akin to what we had seen from Lightning netminders in the recent past.

He'll likely have the 11/7 roster split playing alongside him; Erik Erlendsson suggests that's what Jon Cooper is planning on using again. With Richard Panik suspended and Victor Hedman still on the mend, I can't really argue with the idea. Dana Tyrell and B.J. Crombeen as the extra forwards while Nate Thompson, J.T. Brown and Nikita Kucherov line up together isn't a bad bottom five.

It'll be Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes for the Wings. It wasn't long ago that Gustavsson was seen as a part of the problem for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He got out of that pressure cooker during the 2012-13 offseason, and after a rough 2013 season, he's resurrected himself. Only making 11 appearances in Detroit's 32 games played this season, Gustavsson has a 2.03 GAA and a .930 save percentage. An 8-1-1 record doesn't suck either.

REMINDER: The Lightning's annual Toys for Tots drive has been ongoing this week at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Take a new, unwrapped toy to the Forum box office and receive a voucher for an upcoming game.

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