Red Wings Host Tampa Bay
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings are on the brink of their worst home losing streak in more than 17 years.
Saturday night’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning might provide a good chance to get back on track given their dominance in the series, though the Lightning enter as one of the hottest teams in the league.
The Red Wings (9-5-3) have dropped four straight at home, though three of those losses came in overtime or a shootout. It’s their first four-game home skid since 2009, and they haven’t lost five in a row at Joe Louis Arena since a six-game slide Feb. 8-March 3, 1986.
Detroit, however, has had plenty of success against Tampa Bay, posting a 24-5-1 record with two ties, including a 13-1-0 home mark with one tie. The Lightning have lost six in a row overall in the series and haven’t beaten the Wings since Jan. 7, 2003. The lone road victory came Jan. 12, 1994.
“The bottom line is that of the last eight points available at home, we’ve gotten three of them,” coach Mike Babcock told the team’s official website. “We have to do better than that.”
Poor penalty killing has played a big role, as the Wings have allowed four power-play goals on eight chances in their last three home games. They surrendered the tying goal while short-handed at the 18:50 mark of the third in a 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas on Thursday.
Justin Abdelkader had been called for goaltender interference after running into Kari Lehtonen.
“That was a tough one for us obviously,” Babcock said. “It wasn’t his intention to hurt the team in any way, but it’s a lesson learned.”
The Lightning are converting 20.7 percent of the time on the power play, though they have gone 0 for 8 over the past three games.
Tampa Bay (11-4-0) has won six of seven following a 4-2 home victory over Edmonton on Thursday. Steven Stamkos scored twice to extend his goal streak to five and push his season total to 13, while Ben Bishop stopped 38 shots, including two first-period breakaways.
Bishop is unbeaten in his last three starts with a 1.34 goals-against average.
“He’s the reason why we won,” Stamkos said after the Lightning were outshot 40-26. “I’m not very happy with the way we played. If it wasn’t for Bish, it’s not a win for us. We didn’t deserve the win.”
Valtteri Filppula, a third-round pick by Detroit in 2002, will play his first game against the Red Wings after recording 251 points in 483 games for them over the last eight seasons. Filppula, who signed a five-year contract with Tampa Bay in July, has scored in each of the last two contests.
Daniel Alfredsson has 71 points in 59 career matchups with Tampa Bay – 11 over the last seven – with all of them coming while with the Senators.
Pavel Datsyuk has 13 points in seven games against the Lightning.
Detroit has scored seven power-play goals on 22 chances during its six consecutive wins in the series.
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