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Preview: Red Wings at Lightning

Lightning in pursuit of Bruins for second wild card into playoffs from Eastern Conference

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

RED WINGS (31-33-12) at LIGHTNING (37-29-9)

7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-D, NHL.TV

 

Red Wings team scope

Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou (upper body) is a game-time decision, coach Jeff Blashill said. Athanasiou, who missed a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, alternated with center Ben Street during line rushes at the morning skate but did not participate in power-play drills. The Red Wings' run of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons ended Tuesday but Blashill has downplayed any potential spoiler role with five of their final six games against teams remaining in contention. "Our focus is on our team and continuing to make sure we play for this culture," Blashill said. "Part of the greatness of this culture has been the everyday approach of our best players. We've got to make sure we continue that everyday approach." The Red Wings are 5-2-1 in their past eight games but 0-3-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.

 

Lightning team scope

The Lightning have won three consecutive games and are three points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Lightning have one game in hand on the Bruins but Boston has five more wins in regulation or overtime, which would be the first tiebreaker at the end of the season. Coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning must continue to play with a postseason mentality. "Look where we are in the standings," Cooper said. "If you can't get up for these games, then you shouldn't be playing." Even though the Lightning are 4-0-0 against the Red Wings, forward Jonathan Drouin doesn't expect them to lay down. "They are division rivals and they are going to come out of the gate strong," Drouin said. "We need these two points and they know it, so I expect a tough game." Tampa Bay has won its past eight games against Detroit at Amalie Arena.

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Tomas Tatar

Anthony Mantha -- Dylan Larkin -- Justin Abdelkader

Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Riley Sheahan

Ben Street -- Tomas Nosek -- Drew Miller

Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen

Niklas Kronwall -- Mike Green

Xavier Ouellet -- Robbie Russo

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: None

Injured: Andreas Athanasiou (upper body), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Ryan Sproul (knee), Luke Glendening (lower body)
 
 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne -- Yanni Gourde -- Joel Vermin

Gabriel Dumont -- Greg McKegg -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Anton Stralman -- Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn -- Luke Witkowski

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: None

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Jason Garrison (lower body), Ryan Callahan (hip), Tyler Johnson (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)

 

Status report

If Athanasiou is able to play he will likely replace Street. ... Johnson and Stamkos participated in the Lightning morning skate and both could return by the weekend.

 

Who's hot

Kucherov has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak. ... Tatar has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past eight games. ... Drouin has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past five games.

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