The Lightning continue their mini road-trip tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. This is a real test for the team as it attempts to bounce back from the deflating Minnesota loss. The storyline for this game is intriguing as the Lightning have been unable to beat the Wings in the two teams’ last five meetings.
The wings are red (no pun intended) hot right now as they are on a 5 game winning streak. They are getting clutch performances from some key sources so it’s fair to say that Tampa’s defense is going to be tested in this one.
Look for the Lightning to play a strong defensive game against the timeless, and dangerous, Red Wings. The team will continue to ride the wave Steven Stamkos is creating with 9 goals in his last 11 games. This is the Stamkos we are used to seeing in Tampa. Hopefully the pressures of playing in the motor city don’t slow down his play.
In each game preview I write for the Lightning, there will be my three keys to the game for the team to have success. So, without further ado, here are tonight’s three keys.
1. The Lightning have to stay out of the penalty box. Despite having the 4th best road penalty kill in the league, the Bolts are going to be in tough against the scorching Detroit power play. It’s best to not give them the opportunity to hurt us on the scoreboard. Here that boys? Stay disciplined.
2. It’s vital that the Bolts get the defense involved in the offense against the Wings. Detroit is so good at possessing the puck and just creating scoring chances while playing to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown. If the Lightning don’t manage to create chances from the back-end, the team could end up spending a lot of time in the defensive zone.
3. Get solid goaltending. Whether it’s Garon or Roloson, the guy in net has to be solid against the Wings. It’s tough to play well with guys like Franzen and Holmstrom terrorizing the crease, but nonetheless, the job must be done. If the team doesn’t get a big save or two to start the game, it could easily be a long night.
With those three keys, the Lightning should be able to beat this Detroit team. That being said, don’t count on a win; the Wings are a very solid opponent.
My final remark is in regards to Steve Yzerman. In his first visit to Detroit since leaving to join the Lightning, Yzerman will get a warm welcome; you can bet on it. The guy is a legend in Detroit and rightly so. Few players have captured the heart and soul of an entire city like Yzerman did in Detroit. I hope that Steve gets a standing ovation at the Joe; he deserves it.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.
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