Game 33: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Detroit Red Wings

After skating to another disappointing finish against the Devils, the Tampa Bay Lightning (18-11-3, 39 PTS) will play the tail end of a back-to-back this afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings (15-10-9, 39 PTS), which also played and lost (to the Penguins) on Saturday night.

The two teams played a closely-contested match in Tampa just a few days ago, with the Lightning taking a shootout victory as Ben Bishop out-dueled “The Monster”, Jonas Gustavsson, to mark a rare feat for the franchise: a winning streak against the Wings. Beyond Detroit recalling Tomas Jurco from Grand Rapids of the AHL to assume now-injured Justin Abdelkader’s roster spot and 21 year-old rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek purportedly set to make his fourth big league start, there isn’t much new to add beyond what was written here last week: both clubs are dinged up (Radko Gudas leaving the game late in third period last night was the latest cause for concern; with Hedman out, losing Gudas again would be a devastating blow to a defensive corps already stretched thin), the youth infused in both lineups continue to impress and the aggregate statistical similarities persist.

Thus, to keep things short and sweet, the compelling narratives tonight will be the goaltending matchup between Mrazek, who you would think barely broke a sweat notching a 14-save shutout victory over Edmonton in his only other start this season, and Bishop, who has given the Lightning a bona fide go-to option with his stellar play thus far. Then there’s the question as to whether Tampa Bay, which has been shut out four times in its last ten matches, will find a way to score or not. At the forefront, of course, of the team’s offensive shortcomings is an enigmatic — mostly punch-less — power play which, after notching two man-advantage markers against the Capitals to end an eight-game drought, has continued a pretty dismal run, scoring just five times in the 81.5 minutes (a rate of 3.68 goals per 60 minutes of 5v4 ice time) it has skated up a man absent Steven Stamkos’ presence.

Also, Richard Panik is eligible to return to action after earning a two-game suspension and becoming the goat in the Capitals game, although it remains to be seen whether he will be. Additional intrigue perhaps lies in watching Brown and, particularly, Kucherov intently to see if they can continue to more than hold their own and jointly put together a body of work that will make the thought of extracting them from the lineup, once the wounded start returning to the front lines, rather unappealing. Raw Charge and sister site Bolt Prospects both attested to the superb night the recently-formed trio of 23-44-56 had against the Devils. At a minimum of eight games played, both Kucherov and Brown lead the team — in that order — in both individual shots on goal and attempts per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time with Kucherov head and shoulders above everybody. Again, it will be interesting to keep an eye on as the sample size grows.

A little concerning was the inability of the designated grinders, with the Bolts back to a traditional configuration of twelve forwards and six defensemen, to do much else but get shelled last night. The unit of 19-42-76 failed to manage a single attempt while allowing six against in very spare minutes meant to give the other lines a bit of a breather and, though it wasn’t scored on, didn’t do much to help with the territorial game-within-a-game.

NOTES


Season Series


TAMPA BAY LEADS 2-0
[table “77” not found /]


Rosters


LIGHTNING RED WINGS
[table “74” not found /]
[table “74” not found /]


STATPACK

 

Team

TOI, POSSESSION & SCORING TOTALS
[table “75” not found /]
POSSESSION & SCORING RATES
[table “75” not found /]
POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING PERCENTAGES
[table “75” not found /]

Special Teams

POWER PLAY
[table “80” not found /]
PENALTY KILL
[table “80” not found /]

Goaltending

ON-ICE TOTALS
[table “81” not found /]
ON-ICE RATES
[table “81” not found /]
ON-ICE PERCENTAGES
[table “81” not found /]

Scoring

LIGHTNING
[table “76” not found /]
RED WINGS
[table “76” not found /]

Team stats cited from Extra Skater.

Leave a Reply