Detroit at Tampa Bay
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Thursday, March 30, 2017
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to stay in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff spot despite a host of injuries and look to take advantage of a tired team when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. The Lightning have won three in a row to climb within three points of Boston for the second wild card and vie for a seventh straight regular-season victory against the Red Wings, who will be playing their fifth game in seven days.
Nikita Kucherov has scored 17 goals in as many games for Tampa Bay, which dealt three regulars at the trade deadline and were without five other key players when they rallied from a three-goal deficit to edge Chicago 5-4 in overtime Monday on a tally by Yanni Gourde. “We’ve got a left hook here, and an uppercut here, but guys won’t go down,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “You look at the two-month stretch of this resilient group. This group is showing it right now.” Detroit won’t be in the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90 after losing 4-1 at Carolina on Tuesday - their third game in three nights due to a rescheduled contest. “It is a great streak,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg told reporters of the 25-season stretch. “The guys that have been a part of it should be proud of it. Unfortunately, it is over. We have to move on and look to the future.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (31-33-12): Zetterberg is not showing signs of being at the end of his career this season, as he has recorded a team-leading 63 points - eight in his last eight games - to pull within one of 900 in the NHL. Tomas Tatar tops Detroit with 23 goals and is finishing the season strong with eight his last 11 games while Anthony Mantha is showing promise for the future with 17 tallies - including three in his last five contests. Fellow rookie Tomas Nosek received the opportunity to net his first NHL goal in his 11th game Tuesday with Andreas Athanasiou sidelined with an upper-body injury and considered day-to-day.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (37-29-9): Victor Hedman is making a late charge for the Norris Trophy with six points in his last four games to reach 65, tying Roman Hamrlik (1995-96) for the single-season franchise record for a defenseman. Kucherov leads the team with 80 points, including seven goals and four assists in his last five contests, while Jonathan Drouin reached 50 with two tallies on Monday. Captain Steven Stamkos, who has missed 4 1/2 months after knee surgery, is not expected to play Thursday but called Wednesday’s practice his “best day yet” and could return by the weekend.
1. Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat has notched two goals and six assists during his five-game point streak and is tied for fourth on the team in scoring (44 points).
2. One thing that must improve next season if Detroit is to return to the playoffs is its power play, which ranks 28th in the league (14.1 percent).
3. The Lightning have won all four meetings this season, outscoring the Red Wings 16-9 after a 2-1 overtime victory in Detroit on Friday.
PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Red Wings 1
Stats and Records