Time: 7:30 PM ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: ESPN+, FS-D, SUN
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket / 1270 AM
Bolts Blog: Raw Charge
The Detroit Red Wings (7-16-3) have lost three straight games and will welcome the Central Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning (17-4-2) to town for the first game of a home and home. This is a pivotal stretch for the Wings as they play their next six games at Little Caesars Arena. And, it may be a perfect time for the team to get their captain back as Dylan Larkin practiced over the last couple of days. Head coach Jeff Blashill noted that he will be a game-time decision tonight along with defenseman Troy Stecher.
Tyler Bertuzzi, on the other hand, is still not practicing as he continues to nurse an upper-body injury. Without his net front presence, the story continues to be the struggling power play for this Red Wings squad. There are signs of promise though as both Anthony Mantha and Filip Zadina broke through in back-to-back games on the man advantage, but the team is still operating at a 10.7% success rate (30th in NHL).
As for the Lightning, they continue to be a model of success sitting atop the division with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. The Bolts have plenty of offensive firepower, averaging 3.61 GF/GP (1st) and a 28.8 PP% (5th). This will be a tough matchup for the Wings as the Bolts are one of the best teams at 5-on-5 as illustrated by a 60.53 GF% (2nd) and 51.69 HDCF% (9th) per Natural Stat Trick.
One player to keep an eye on for Tampa is Steven Stamkos, who has been on a tear of late with two goals and three assists in his last five games. For his career, Stamkos has been a thorn in the Red Wings’ side, piling up 14 goals and 24 points in 27 games. In net, the Wings will likely see Andrei Vasilevskiy in one if not both of these games and he’s been razor sharp this season going 15-3-1 with a 1.73 GAA and .939 SV% — firmly cementing himself in the Vezina Trophy conversation.
These two teams have previously met 62 times in their franchise histories and the Red Wings hold the all-time record at 30-25-2-5.