NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (26-19-12) at Tampa Bay Lightning (32-20-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning aim to remain unbeaten this season against new division rival Detroit as they play host to the rebounding Red Wings on Saturday night.
Prior to the Red Wings shifting from the Western Conference to the East and the new-look Atlantic Division this season, Tampa Bay had been 0-7-0 with a tie in its previous eight matchups with Detroit. That included three straight setbacks at home, but the Lightning have taken the first three of five meetings in 2013-14.
Tampa won the first two encounters beyond regulation, including a 2-1 shootout win at home on Dec. 12, and picked up a 3-0 victory on Dec. 15 in the most recent encounter in Detroit.
Ben Bishop made 28 saves for one of his four shutouts this season for the Lightning, but may not play tonight due to an upper-body injury that forced him out of Thursday's 4-1 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bishop stopped 21-of-22 shots prior to departing after two periods and is day- to-day.
With regular backup Anders Lindback out with a sprained left ankle, Cedrick Desjardins made his season debut and stopped 11 shots while getting beat for two goals in the first half of the third period.
Ondrej Palat had Tampa Bay's lone score in the loss, the Lightning's second straight and fourth in five outings.
"We have to play our game," Palat said. "We didn't play bad today. It's frustrating."
The loss came on the same day it was announced that Bolts captain Martin St. Louis will replace injured teammate Steven Stamkos on Team Canada for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The league will take a break until late February following today's action due to the Games.
Valtteri Filppula was slated to play for Team Finland, but suffered a non- displaced fracture to his right ankle in Thursday's game after taking a slash in the third period. He is expected to miss three weeks of action.
In response to the two injuries, the Lightning recalled forward Vladislav Namestnikov and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Friday. Namestnikov was taken 27th overall in the 2011 draft and the 21-year-old has 13 goals and 30 points in 31 games this season in the AHL.
Gudlevskis, who was selected to play for Latvia in the 2014 Winter Games, is 11-8-2 with a 2.69 goals against average and four shutouts in 22 games with Syracuse.
The Lightning's current struggles have dropped them seven points behind first- place Boston in the Atlantic Division and they are now just a point ahead of both Montreal and Toronto for second place.
Detroit is five points behind Tampa Bay in the standings, leaving the Red Wings eighth overall in the Eastern Conference. They are just one point ahead of Ottawa and Columbus for the final playoff berth.
The Red Wings have managed a point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2) and bested the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Thursday. Daniel Alfredsson had a game- tying goal and Gustav Nyquist's ninth goal in nine games was the winner.
Jimmy Howard made 16 of his 23 saves in the third period and his second-period stop on a backhand attempt set up Nyquist going end-to-end for his tally.
"Howard made a key stop ... and I skated wide and tried to catch (Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas) off guard," said Nyquist, who on Monday was named to Sweden's team for the Olympics to replace injured teammate Johan Franzen.
Detroit won the opener of a five-game road trip and is set to visit Montreal, Ottawa and New Jersey after the break.
02/08 16:02:33 ET