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Lightning eyeing Atlantic Division lead

Victory puts Tampa Bay in first; Detroit with chance to solidify wild card spot

by Corey Long / Correspondent

RED WINGS (36-25-11) at LIGHTNING (41-26-5)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNO, SNW, FS-D, SUN, NHL.TV

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning can move into first place in the Atlantic Division with a victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

The Lightning, who start a six-game homestand Tuesday, are two points behind the first-place Florida Panthers. A Lightning win would have each team with 89 points in 73 games, but the Lightning have 38 regulation/overtime wins (ROW) to the Panthers' 33.

The game also has playoff implications for the Red Wings. They have a one-point lead on the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers play at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, FS-O, NHL.TV) and the Flyers have a game in hand on the Red Wings.

The next six are the Lightning's final regular-season home games. The homestand starts after a 2-0 defeat of the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday capped a 2-2-0 four-game road trip.

"It was nice to end the road trip with a big win and get a couple of days off," Stamkos said. "Now we come back in the fire with a big divisional game."

Stamkos said it's important to take each game one at a time and not to look too far ahead.

"You can't over-analyze things and you can't panic," he said. "We go through a stretch where you lose five of six games and then go .500 on the road and get a chance [Tuesday] to win and be first in the division."

Lightning forwards Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula will not play Tuesday. Callahan will miss his second straight game because of a lower-body injury; Filppula will miss his fourth straight game.

Coach Jon Cooper said he expects them to return by the weekend.

"Neither one of them are ready for [Tuesday]," Cooper said. "This is a tough one for [Filppula] because he always likes to go against his old team but he can't go yet. Shouldn't be much longer."

The Red Wings will go with Jimmy Howard in goal again. Petr Mrazek has missed the past two games because of an illness but he will be in the lineup Tuesday.

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said Howard gives the team its best chance to win Tuesday.

"It's a day-to-day business and we're focused on this game," Blashill said. "We're going to look at this opponent and what we've done well against them so far this season."

Howard said he leans on his experience in these situations and enjoys the challenge.

"This is time of year you want to be out there helping your team," he said. "We're facing a great goalie and it's going to be a battle. I've been in this situation before and it's exciting to make this push for the playoffs and achieve that goal."

Ben Bishop will be in goal for the Lightning. He had his 15th shutout with the Lightning on Saturday, a team record.

Here are the projected lineups:


Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar - Pavel Datsyuk - Anthony Mantha

Andreas Athanasiou - Riley Sheahan - Gustav Nyquist

Darren Helm - Luke Glendening - Brad Richards

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

Brendan Smith - Mike Green

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Drew Miller (knee)

Scratched: Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Jurco, Alexey Marchenko


Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Jonathan Marchessault

Cedric Paquette - Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown

Erik Condra - Brian Boyle

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov - Braydon Coburn

Matthew Carle

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Valtteri Filppula (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body)

Scratched: Mike Blunden

Status report: Filppula participated in the morning skate wearing a gray, non-contact sweater. Callahan did not skate. ...Detroit held an optional morning skate after having a full practice Monday.

Who's hot: Bishop has two shutout in his past three games. ...Datsyuk had two goals in the Red Wings' 5-3 win against the Panthers on Saturday.

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