Tampa Bay at Detroit
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, March 24, 2017
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
The Detroit Red Wings officially will have their 25-year postseason streak end soon, but they hope to lay some of the groundwork for a rebound campaign in 2017-18 with a strong finish over the next few weeks. The Red Wings, who are 13 points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, vie for their fourth victory in five games when they host the rejuvenated Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
“You still have to be professional,” Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who helped defeat Montreal 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday, told the Detroit Free Press. “This organization has given us all a lot, and our fans over the years and their dedication. We owe it to both of them to still go out there and play.” The Lightning looked as though they were fading out of the race with three straight losses before posting an inspiring 6-3 victory at Boston on Thursday, which pulled them within three points of the Bruins for the second wild-card spot in the East. Nikita Kucherov recorded a hat trick for Tampa Bay to push his total to 37 goals – moving within three of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the league lead. The Lightning have won four straight overall on the road and each of their last five meetings with Detroit - including the final two in the 2016 playoffs and all three this season.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN DetroitABOUT THE LIGHTNING (35-29-9):
Tampa Bay already was down four key forwards due to injuries before defenseman Jason Garrison left in the second period on Thursday with a lower-body ailment and did not return. Kucherov leads the team with 76 points and blue-liner Victor Hedman added two assists against Boston to increase his career-high total to 62 points while Jonathan Drouin scored a goal and set up two others. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was rested Thursday, is expected to start against the Red Wings after allowing 12 goals over his last three games following a 6-0-1 stretch.ABOUT THE RED WINGS (29-32-11):
Howard has surrendered seven goals in four games since coming off injured reserve and has posted career-best numbers during his injury-plagued season, registering a 1.91 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 21 games. “Howie looks every bit as good as he maybe has ever been,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the Free Press. “He is playing just as good as he was before he went down with an injury.” Captain Henrik Zetterberg leads the team with 60 points, including five in his last four games, while Tomas Tatar tops the club with 21 goals - four in his last four contests.OVERTIME
1. Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat notched three assists Thursday and has collected nine points in his last eight contests.
2. Detroit entered Thursday 29th in the league on the power play (14.1 percent) but has gone 5-for-15 over its last four games.
3. Lightning C Brayden Point has registered three multi-point performances in his last six contests, including Thursday's win (goal, assist).PREDICTION:
Lightning 4, Red Wings 1
Stats and Records