Preview: Red Wings visit Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are limping into their final game before the Olympic break against the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in more ways than one.
Tampa Bay has dropped four of its last five contests and lost second-leading scorer Valtteri Filppula with a non-displaced fracture of his right ankle along with No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop (upper-body injury) in the 4-1 setback to Toronto on Thursday. The Red Wings come in with points in seven of their last eight contests (5-1-2).
Filppula won’t play for Finland at the Olympics and is expected to miss three weeks while Bishop, who has 27 victories and .933 save percentage, is day-to-day. Detroit’s All Star center Pavel Datsyuk returned from a lower-body injury in the 3-1 victory at Florida on Thursday. Gustav Nyquist has led the way for the Red Wings during their hot stretch with nine goals and 13 points in the last nine games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, FSN Detroit-Plus, SunSports (Tampa Bay)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (26-19-12): Nyquist has recorded at least one point in nine of the last 10 games to make up for the loss of Datsyuk (799 career points), whose Selke credentials should help a defense that has been inconsistent.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in scoring with 48 points while defenseman Niklas Kronwall is second at 36, including five assists in the last three contests. Jimmy Howard has gained points in four straight outings (3-0-1) and allowed only one goal in his last six periods of action.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (32-20-5): If Bishop can't play, the goaltending duties will fall to Cedrick Desjardins or possibly Latvian Olympian Kristers Gudlevskis, who was recalled Friday. The Lightning need to get back on track in the offensive end where they have produced four goals in the last three games despite averaging 35 shots.
Captain Martin St. Louis, who was added the Canadian Olympic team Thursday, has collected six assists in his last eight games since scoring four goals against San Jose.
1. Tampa Bay is 3-0-0, with an overtime and a shootout win, against the Red Wings this season after losing the previous six meetings.
2. Detroit has scored eight goals in its last two road games after being shut out in three straight away from home.
3. The Lightning also recalled former 2011 first-round pick C Vladimir Namestnikov, who could make his NHL debut.