Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

Tonight, our Tampa Bay Lightning had to the Joe Louis Arena to face off with captain Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings.

Nov 30, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates a goal by right wing Martin St Louis (26) goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at the Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Many people seem to favor the Red Wings in tonight’s matchup.

Personally, I would think that not only our boys in blue, but the numbers would tend to disagree with those people.

Is tonight’s game going to be a cake walk for the Lightning? Absolutely not.

However, taking into consideration the play that the Lightning have been exhibiting so far this season coupled with the spectacular performances set forth by Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop has been putting forth, I would say that the Bolts are in a pretty good position to go toe-to-toe with the Red Wings tonight.

Tonight is going to be a rather interesting night. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Lightning center Valtteri Filppula, who played with the Detroit Red Wings for 8 seasons from 2005 until the Bolts acquired him on July 5th of this year.

Right now, Filppula is 3rd on the team in points with 6 goals and 6 assists for a total of 12 points.

Right now, it is Steven Stamkos leading the way for the Lightning. His 13 goals and 9 assists put him in first place on the team in points and goals. He is also second in the NHL in points and goals.

On the Red Wings side, Henrik Zetterberg is heading things up with 8 goals and 10 assists for a total of 8 points.

As far as the team by team comparison goes, it looks like there is no obvious winner in tonight’s game.

Bolts Red Wings
Goals Per Game 3.27 2.53
Goals Against Per Game 2.47 2.59
Shots on Goal Per Game 28.87 29.71
Penalty Minutes Per Game 14.13 8.88
Power Play Goals 12 9
Power Play Percentage 20.7% 17.6%
Penalty Kill Percentage 84.2% 84.1%

 

While the Red Wings do have the advantage in areas like Shots on Goal Per Game and Penalty Minutes, the Bolts have the advantage in Goals Per Game and in the special teams department.

The balance between keeping themselves out of the penalty box and capitalizing on every power play opportunity that they are handed tonight will be a key factor in their success.

The defense was shaky in the game against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. This is something that the Bolts are going to have to shake off and get under control tonight if they want to come out on top against the Red Wings.

The Lightning has been successful on the road so far this season. They have won 4 of the 6 games that they have played outside of Tampa Bay so far this season.

Tonight’s game is all that more important being that it is a divisional matchup. Right now, the Bolts are on top of the Atlantic Division, but as we all know, this early in the season, there is a lot of volatility in that arena, and the tide can change with a single game.

Do you think the Lightning have what it takes to extend their winning streak to four? Do you think Filppula’s knowledge of the Red Wings system is going to play a factor in tonight’s game? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.

 

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Topics: NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning

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