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Red Wings-Lightning game-day articles: Wings aim to play ‘relentless’ hockey vs. Bolts

Updated 5x at 1:36 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will be leaning upon a veteran-heavy lineup as they face the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN/97.1 FM; tonight is Military Appreciation Night at the Joe).

With Thomas Vanek coming back on Sunday--and his LTIR cap space disappearing--the Wings sent Tyler Bertuzzi to Grand Rapids this morning, and MLive's Ansar Khan Tweeted out the following Wings lines:

#RedWings lines at skate:
Bertuzzi (extra)


#RedWings defense pairs:
Ouellet (extra)
Kronwall off until Thursday practice.


Power play practice before morning skate for #RedWings:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader, Green-Sproul
Tatar-Nielsen-Larkin, Mantha, Smith

The Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith reports that the Lightning won't hold a morning skate today, but it's anticipated that Ben Bishop will start opposite Petr Mrazek, and the Lightning's website believees that hte Bolts will ice the following lineup:

Lines are from Monday's game against the Islanders and subject to change. The team did not hold a morning skate in Detroit on Tuesday.


Vladislav Namestnikov  - Steven Stamkos  - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat  - Tyler Johnson  - Alex Killorn

Brayden Point - Valtteri Filppula  - Ryan Callahan

Brian Boyle  - Cedric Paquette  - J.T. Brown


Victor Hedman  - Andrej Sustir

Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov 

Slater Koekkoek - Jason Garrison 


Ben Bishop expected to start vs. Red Wings

The Lightning are 9-and-3 against the Red Wings over the teams' past 12 meetings. Also of note from the Bolts' website:

The Lightning and the Red Wings are playing their second of five matchups this season and first at Joe Louis Arena...Tampa Bay defeated Detroit 6-4 in the teams' first meeting on Opening Night...The Lightning netted a season-high three power-play goals and six different Bolts -- Jonathan Drouin, Cedric Paquette, Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula -- scored in that two-goal victory...The Lightning have won three straight in the regular season over Detroit...Including the Bolts' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal win (in five games) over the Red Wings in 2016, Tampa Bay has won seven of their last eight over Detroit...The Lightning went 0-2-0 at Joe Louis Arena in the 2015-16 regular season and haven't won at the Joe since a 4-3 shootout victory on Nov. 9, 2014...The Bolts are just 4-17-0 with one tie all-time in the regular season at Joe Louis Arena but have won three of the last seven in Detroit...Tampa Bay is 15-28-1 with two ties all-time overall in the regular season vs. Detroit.

NBCSN's Joey Alfieri also penned a game preview:

The Lightning and Red Wings will meet for the first time since their regular season opener back on Oct. 13.

On that night, the Lightning got multi-point efforts from Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Drouin in a 6-4 win. Detroit got two goals from Thomas Vanek in the loss.

Things will be a little different tonight, as both Vanek and Drouin are out with injuries.

Tampa Bay opened their five-game road trip with a 4-0 beat down of the New York Islanders last night.

The Bolts were led by their top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov, who were dangerous all night.

Stamkos picked up two assists, Kucherov had a goal and an assist, while Namestnikov found the back of the net once as well.

As for the Red Wings, they’ve been up and down in 2016-17.

In October, they put together a six-game winning streak, but Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Montreal may have been the low point of this young season.

Also: Among the Hockey News's Matt Larkin's "five players who will be first-ballot Hall-of-Famers" list:


'The Magic Man,' now toiling in the KHL as he finishes out his career, was arguably the guy other players respected the most as an opponent during his NHL tenure. Datsyuk is one of the best stickhandlers of all-time and had many prolific offensive seasons as a result, but his two-way play made him truly special. He's one of the best defensive forwards ever, a three-time Selke Trophy winner. Datsyuk won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008, too. A lack of top-drawer individual awards is the only strike on his record, but Datsyuk was such a phenomenal all-around player that he should get his Hall call in no time.


After the morning skate, the Red Wings' beat writers filed their game-day reports, with the Windsor Star's Bob Duff discussing Ryan Sproul's presence on the Wings' power play:

Hoping to spark a moribund power play that has gone 0-for-12 the past three games and 1-for-18 over a six-game stretch, the Detroit Red Wings will reinsert defenseman Ryan Sproul for Tuesday’s key Atlantic Division match-up at Joe Louis Arena with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I want to see our power play be more dynamic,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “I want to see lots of shots.”

That’s one area where Sproul, with his potent point shot, can help but it’s not the only area that he should be able to impact the Detroit power play.

“I want to see him breaking the puck out, jumping up in the play, being dynamic offensively and being assertive defensively,” Blashill said.

Sproul was a healthy scratch the previous seven games.

“It’s been a while,” Sproul said. “I think it’s just a little bit of rust. I need to make sure I come back in and play my game and keep it simple, do little things that will make the game easier for me.”

His plan is to be another piece in the puzzle as Detroit seeks to sort out what can make its power play go.

“We’ve got guys out there, you get the puck to them and they do the work, so I’m going to be at the top tonight and make sure I’m shooting a lot,” Sproul said.

The Free Press's Helene St. James also filed a game-day report...

“We need to make sure that we play to our identity,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We need to make sure that we are relentless in our pressure. We’ve gotten away from that a little bit. We need to make sure that we are fast -- that we are beating people up the ice. We’ve gotten away from that a little bit. And we need to make sure we are ultracompetitive. We’ve been that, for the most part, but we weren't good enough at it the last game we played.

“If we do those three things, we give ourselves the best chance to win. Probably the one thing I’d add to that is no easy chances against. They do a good job of getting behind you, they do a good job of creating breakaways. You can’t let them get behind you and put you on your heels.”

The Wings catch the Lightning on a back-to-back, as Tampa Bay beat the host New York Islanders, 4-0, on Monday. The Wings lost their season opener at Tampa Bay and are just 1-5 against the Atlantic Division overall.

There are several changes to the lineup from the last game. Petr Mrazek is back in net. On defense, Niklas Kronwall gets the night off, which affords Ryan Sproul an opportunity. He’s with Brendan Smith. Danny DeKeyser is with Mike Green, and Jonathan Ericsson is with Alexey Marchenko. Sproul playing means that the Wings have a left-handed and right-handed shooter on every defense pairing.

Up front, Luke Glendening is starting the game on a line with Frans Nielsen and Dylan Larkin. Henrik Zetterberg is with Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar, Darren Helm with Gustav Nyquist and Anthony Mantha, and Riley Sheahan with Steve Ott and Drew Miller.

Video of Blashill's remarks included...

And MLive's Ansar Khan focused on Petr Mrazek's play:

Petr Mrazek looks to snap a three-game winless streak tonight when the Detroit Red Wings face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena. It will be Mrazek's first start since Nov. 4 vs. Winnipeg. After winning four starts in a row, culminated with a 2-1 shootout victory in St. Louis on Oct. 27, Mrazek has allowed four goals in each of his past three starts, going 0-2-1.

He stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief of Jimmy Howard during the third period of Saturday's 5-0 loss at Montreal.

There are two other lineup changes for the Red Wings: Ryan Sproul replaces Niklas Kronwall, who is being given a few days off, on defense and Drew Miller is in for Tyler Bertuzzi, who was reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

"We need to make sure we're playing to our identity, so we need to make sure we're relentless on our pressure," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We need to make sure we're fast, that we're beating people up the ice. We got away from that a little bit. We need to make sure we're ultra-competitive. I think we've been that for the most part but weren't good enough in that the last game. If we do those three things we give ourselves the best chance to win.

"One thing I'd add to that is no easy chances against. They do a good job of getting behind you, do a good job of creating breakaways. We can't give up any easy chances against. You can't let them get behind you and put you on your heels. We got to make sure that we're on our toes and accountable for every player at all times."


Update: The Free Press's St. James posted a clip of Ryan Sproul's remarks (via RedWingsFeed)...

As did MLive's Ansar Khan:


Update #2: The Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith filed a game-day report:

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are two of the game's most gifted and skilled scorers. So, naturally, when they're on the same line, it makes for must-see TV.

"It's awesome (to watch) from the bench," wing J.T. Brown said. "They're going back-and-forth, tap in goals. It's special to watch."

Stamkos and Kucherov put on a dazzling display in Monday's 4-0 win over the Islanders, their chemistry with linemate Vladislav Namestnikov growing by each game. Stamkos had two assists, Kucherov a goal and assist, including a couple crafty give-and-gos. Namestnikov scored, too. Stamkos (19 points) and Kucherov (18 points) are both in the top-five in the NHL in scoring heading into Tuesday's game against the Red Wings.

"The more we play together, we feel more comfortable and understand each other more and more," Kucherov said. "Being able to play with him, it's simple. I know where he's going to be. He's a great player, smart player, It's kind of fun."

Said Stamkos: "The skill set that 'Kuch possesses is impressive. For me, it's just about finding opening on the ice where he's going to put it. The same with (Namestnikov). Going back to last year, we had some good chemistry. Even games we haven't gotten on the scoreboard, we probably deserved to. (Monday) was one of those games we got rewarded."

That line's production has been a big boost for the Lightning (9-6-1), especially considering the slow starts for Tyler Johnson (eight points) and Ondrej Palat (six points). After a hot start, six goals in his first seven games, Alex Killorn has no goals in his past nine games, pointless in his past six.


Update #3: Here's DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji's game-day notebook:

HELLO, LIGHTNING: The Wings are very familiar with the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are in the same division and the Lightning have eliminated the Wings from the playoffs the last two seasons.

"We've played each other in so many valuable games, so it speak, when it matters a lot, and then the intensity ramps up," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "There's more emotion involved in the game so obviously that makes some impact on the rivalry between the teams. I think so. We've played each other a lot the past few years and it's obviously a game we like to play and it's fun to play. And they are also a very good team."

The Wings opened the season in Tampa with a 6-4 loss.

"They have a really fast team with young guys who are playing really well," Tomas Tatar said. "They really live with the system, too and it seems like they are clicking well. They have a good group of guys."

The Lightning are coming off a 4-0 road shutout of the New York Islanders Monday night. The Wings have not fared well against teams playing the second of back-to-back games recently, losing to both the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers. Blashill outlined what the Wings have to do to change that.

"Play great from the drop of the puck to the end of the game," Blashill said. "That's all you can control. I have no idea what time they got in, what their rest was. But what I know we can control is our play. If we play great and we're relentless for 60 minutes we give ourselves the best chance to win. The NHL schedule is such that it goes both ways, sometimes you're rested and sometimes they're rested. We don't use it as an excuse, they won't use it as an excuse, so we're going to have to play great hockey to win tonight."


Update #4: Here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's notebook:

Schedule quirk: Tampa was the third team the Red Wings have faced in recent weeks who came into Joe Louis Arena on the back end of back-to-back games. Is there any sort of advantage in that situation?

“Play great from the drop of the puck,” Blashill said. “That’s all you can control. I have no idea when they got in, what their rest was, I have no idea. But I what I know is we can control our play and if we play great and we’re relentless for 60 minutes, it gives ourselves the best chance to win. The NHL schedule is such that this goes both ways. Sometimes you’re rested and sometimes they’re rested. We don’t use it as an excuse and they won’t use it as an excuse.”

Ice chips: With play-by-play man Ken Kal remaining ill, Grand Rapids Griffins’ announcer Bob Kaser filled  in for a third consecutive game.

…It was Military Appreciation Night Tuesday, with many military personnel meeting Red Wings players after the morning skate.


Update #5: Among MLive's Ansar Khan's notes:

Message to Mantha

Blashill's message to Mantha is responsible play will lead to offensive opportunities.

"He's scored at a real good rate (in Grand Rapids); my understanding is at times he's looked like he's in the wrong league, which we asked him to," Blashill said. "He needs to do real simple things. He needs to make sure he's accountable defensively, he needs to make sure he's winning puck races, he needs to make sure he's back-checking and tracking real hard. If he does those three things then his skill set takes over and he's going to get lots of opportunities.

"It's a similar message I had with Thomas Vanek. Thomas Vanek did it great and as a result he was dynamic offensively. I think Anthony can be a big factor for us if he does those things."

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WingedRider's avatar

I am sure I can hear the music from the Detroit Circus, damn Cap biting the Wings in the butt.

Time to dispose of useless Cap Space,,, Free trip to Pluto,,,

This year is going to be very interesting. Not as bad as pre Cap Gong Shows but interesting

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 11/15/16 at 02:00 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

I find it baffling that this team has the highest payroll in the league (according to Cap Friendly). We have no bona fide superstar (Z well into his declining years, Larks has potential but isn’t there yet), and we have arguably the worst defensive corps in the NHL. And it’s not like these albatross contracts are coming off the books any time soon, either. It could be a long couple of years coming up, here, ppl.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 11/15/16 at 03:23 PM ET


We have no bona fide superstar

Luke Glendenning. DUH Where have you been all this time

Posted by George0211 on 11/15/16 at 04:26 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Blash broke up the OMG line shock  Sheahan on the grind line is like putting a large fat docile old fat cat in charge of energy and moral. You put grinders on the 4th Blash, not kittens.

Who is the so called salary cap wizard? Martin or MacDonald? One is assistant GM and the other VP of finance.
One or both should be fired with Kenny at seasons end.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 11/15/16 at 05:16 PM ET


Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 11/15/16 at 04:16 PM ET

If trades are hard, imagine what managing a cap must be like.

Posted by Wise1 on 11/15/16 at 05:22 PM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Here’s a feature from THN praising Yzerman’s GM acumen to make you feel all better.

Posted by duhduhduh on 11/15/16 at 06:21 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Here’s a feature from THN praising Yzerman’s GM acumen to make you feel all better.

Posted by MoreShoot on 11/15/16 at 05:21 PM ET

Holland would look good if someone else had drafted Stamkos and Hedman for him.

Posted by Primis on 11/15/16 at 07:11 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Here’s a feature from THN praising Yzerman’s GM acumen to make you feel all better.

Posted by MoreShoot on 11/15/16 at 05:21 PM ET

Yeah but trades are hard.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/15/16 at 07:19 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.