DETROIT – The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to beat the Detroit Red Wings for the second time this week.
A meeting on the road, however, may not be ideal.
The Lightning will try to avoid their longest road losing streak in five years by capitalizing on another meeting with the slumping Red Wings on Sunday.
Martin St. Louis’ goal in the sixth round of the shootout gave Tampa Bay (18-11-3) a 2-1 win over Detroit on Thursday.
The Lightning, however, failed to carry that momentum onto the road Saturday, falling 3-0 at New Jersey despite 33-19 advantage in shots.
“We were surging and had chances, but they got the second goal (in the third period), that made it tough,” St. Louis said.
That was the seventh straight road loss for Tampa Bay since beating Montreal 2-1 in a shootout Nov. 12. The Lightning have been shut out in three of the past four away from home while allowing 26 goals during the seven-game skid in opposing arenas.
They haven’t dropped eight in a row on the road since Nov. 10-Dec. 10, 2008.
Ben Bishop may be back in net looking to help Tampa Bay avoid matching that dubious streak. He was rested Saturday in favor of backup Anders Lindback, who made 16 saves.
Bishop stopped 28 shots against the Red Wings on Thursday, and turned aside all six shootout attempts. He’s 16-5-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average this season, but also has struggled on the road lately.
Bishop is 0-2-2 with a 3.33 GAA in his last five away contests after winning three straight behind a 0.95 GAA. That includes a 25-save performance before Teddy Purcell scored with 1:09 left in overtime of a 3-2 win at Detroit on Nov. 9, ending the Lightning’s six-game slide there.
Richard Panik had an assist on Purcell’s goal. The right wing is expected to return from a two-game suspension for a hit on Washington’s Karl Alzner in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss.
While the Lightning are trying to end their road losing streak, the Red Wings (15-10-9) are seeking to halt their four-game overall slide.
They’ve scored only five goals in that stretch with the power play going 1 for 16 after producing seven goals during a 6-2-0 stretch.
Detroit’s issues stretched into the defensive end Saturday in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh, its third straight home defeat.
“When you let four goals in it’s tough to win,” said Jonas Gustavsson, who had 21 saves. “I got to be better.”
Gustavsson will likely get another opportunity since starter Jimmy Howard is out for at least two weeks with a sprained knee. He’s 3-0-4 with a 2.36 GAA in seven career meetings with the Lightning, making 26 stops and turning aside five shootout attempts before being beaten by St. Louis on Thursday.
Pavel Datsyuk, the Wings’ leader with 13 goals, has been held without a point in both season meetings with Tampa Bay. He had seven goals and six assists over his first seven matchups, including six points in four at home.
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