Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Venue: Tampa Bay Times Forum; Tampa Bay, Florida
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD+; Tampa Bay- Sun Sports
The Detroit Red Wings (26-19-12, 64 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) were able to win their first road game in five games and earn a big two points Thursday night as they head into their final game before the Olympic Break. The Red Wings have started playing more consistent hockey as of late, going 6-2-2 in their last ten games. The consistency comes at a good time for the Red Wings as they head into the two and a half week break trying to get fully healthy for the first time this season. If the Red Wings can get Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss back after the Olympic Break and have them be effective, we will finally get to see what a fully healthy Red Wings team is capable of. Before they think of that though, the Red Wings have to try and get a victory against a team that is ahead of them in the standings. A victory for the Red Wings tonight will put them only three points behind Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Tampa Bay Lightning (32-20-5, 69 points, 2nd place Atlantic Division) thought they would be getting back their best player for at least one of the games this weekend prior to the Olympics. Steven Stamkos hasbeen out since early in the season with a broken leg, though the Lightning have not missed a beat without him. They have been able to hold on to the second place spot for a majority of the season, putting them in a great position to make a playoff run when they get Stamkos back. Traditionally, the Lightning have had a tough time beating the Red Wings, though they style of hockey they have played this season makes it possible for them to beat nearly any team they play this year.
The Red Wings are expected to turn to Jimmy Howard in net for the fifth consecutive game. Howard built off of his strong performance in the shutout to go on and allow only one goal in the victory over the Florida Panthers. Howard will represent the United States in Sochi for the Olympics as the United States looks to capture gold.
Starting in net for the Lightning is expected to be Anders Lindback after Ben Bishop left Thursday’s game with an injury. Lindback has been very inconsistent this season posting a 5-11-1 record with a 3.23 GAA and .880 save percentage.