Red Wings host Lightning aiming to push win streak to 6
The Detroit Red Wings will try to extend their current high six games when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have won five straight for the first time since opening the season 5-0. Detroit also has nine wins in 11 games following a six-game losing streak.
Detroit's latest victory came Saturday against the visiting Nashville Predators. Valtteri Filppula scored twice and assisted on Henrik Zetterberg's goal to lift the Wings to the 4-1 decision over the Preds.
Danny Cleary also lit the lamp for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard made 18 saves for the Red Wings, who haven't won six in a row since a seven-game tear from March 20-April 1, 2010.
"We always want to win as many as we can," said Filppula. "I want to help the team as much as I can every night and today felt good out there."
Detroit is also riding a six-game winning streak on home ice and is 9-2-1 as the host this season. The Red Wings will play their next three tests on the road after closing a brief two-game homestand tonight.
It's been quite some time since the Lightning defeated the Red Wings, as Detroit is 6-0 with a tie in seven meetings since the Bolts posted a 1-0 home win on Jan. 7, 2003. The Lightning are 1-12 with a tie in 14 all-time trips to the Motor City. Tampa's only win at the Joe came in a 4-2 decision on Jan. 12, 1994.
The Lightning will try to get back on track tonight after being denied a third straight win with Monday's regulation loss in Minnesota. Niklas Backstrom stopped 32 shots to help lift the Wild to the 3-1 decision.
Steven Stamkos scored the lone goal for the Lightning, giving him four goals in his last three games and 15 on the season.
Mathieu Garon stopped 21-of-23 shots for Tampa, which went 0-for-2 on the power play and also allowed Cal Clutterbuck to notch a short-handed goal.
"Obviously it sucks when you let in a shorty like that," said Stamkos. "We need to find a way to generate better on our power play or else we're not going to win much."
Garon has started the last three games for Tampa, but Dwayne Roloson could be back between the pipes tonight. Roloson entered this year as the Lightning's clear No. 1 netminder, but hasn't played since giving up six goals in a 7-1 loss to Toronto on Nov. 22.
The Lightning have played the last three games without forward Steve Downie, who is questionable for tonight with an upper-body injury.
Tampa has dropped three of its last four road games and is just 4-7-2 as the guest this season.