NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 12th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (15-9-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (17-10-3), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The hobbled Detroit Red Wings try to avoid their first road setback to the Tampa Bay Lightning in almost 11 years as the two clubs both look to rebound on Thursday night.
The Red Wings have not suffered a defeat in Tampa since a 1-0 decision on Jan. 7, 2003. They have won three straight as the visitor in this series since.
The Lightning hadn't beaten the Red Wings at any venue since that victory before finally coming through with a 3-2 overtime win at Detroit on Nov. 9. That victory snapped Tampa Bay's eight-game series winless streak that featured seven regulation setbacks and a tie.
Detroit is coming off consecutive losses to the Florida Panthers, losing at home 2-1 on Saturday before dropping a 3-2 shootout decision in Sunrise on Tuesday. The Red Wings carried a two-goal lead into the third period before the Panthers found the back of the net twice in the frame, getting the tying goal with 5:22 left in regulation.
Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk lit the lamp in regulation for the Red Wings, who have dropped three of four. Jimmy Howard made 25 saves in the setback, but yielded two goals in tiebreaker as Detroit fell to 0-5 on shootouts this season and 10-3-2 on the road.
"I tried some different guys. We didn't get it done," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We got one point, we wanted two; we came up one short."
Datsyuk found the scoresheet in his first game back after missing seven in a row due to a concussion. However, Henrik Zetterberg remained out with a herniated disc and was moved to long-term injured reserve on Wednesday, while forward Stephen Weiss won't play tonight after a nagging groin injury flared up in Florida.
Detroit was also forced to recall goaltender Petr Mrazek from the minors as Howard tweaked his knee during practice on Wednesday according to the Detroit Free Press.
Jonas Gustavsson was already expected to start tonight's game in net for the Red Wings and is 8-1-1 with a 2.03 goals against average and .930 save percentage in 11 games this season. He is 3-0-3 with a 2.62 GAA in six career games versus the Lightning.
Tampa Bay returns home after losing for the sixth straight time on the road with Tuesday's 6-5 shootout defeat versus the Washington Capitals. The Bolts are 6-7-2 on the road this season compared to 11-3-1 as the host.
The Lightning, 1-2-2 in their past five overall, failed to hold leads of 3-0 and 4-2 versus the Capitals. Momentum really shifted when forward Richard Panik took a major boarding penalty late in the second period and the Caps scored twice on the ensuing power play to even the game heading into the third frame.
Adding insult is the fact that Panik received a two-game suspension on Wednesday for the hit.
Martin St. Louis and Tyler Johnson recorded a goal and two assists each in the loss. Ondrej Palat added a goal and assist, while Ben Bishop made 26 saves for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay lost for only the second time in 15 games (13-1-1) this season when scoring first.
"This is a game we should have won," said St. Louis. "We had that game. A bunch of times we had that game, we just couldn't close it."
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman sat out a second straight game with a lower-body injury.
Bishop won his first career start versus the Red Wings as he made 25 saves in the victory on Nov. 9. Teddy Purcell had the winner with 69 ticks left in overtime.
Zetterberg scored both goals for the Red Wings and Howard gave up all three goals on 34 shots.
12/12 10:51:19 ET