Red Wings visit Bolts in big Atlantic Division clash

( - The sizzling Detroit Red Wings hope to extend their lead atop the Atlantic Division when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for Thursday's showdown at Amalie Arena.

Detroit has won six straight and eight of its last nine games and the surge has pushed the Red Wings to the top of the Atlantic standings where they sit one point ahead of Tampa Bay.

The Red Wings already had posted their longest winning streak of the season when they recorded a fifth consecutive victory on Jan. 20, beating the visiting Minnesota Wild in a shootout to head into the All-Star break with their hot streak intact.

Detroit was able to extend the winning streak to six in its return from the break on Tuesday, posting a 5-4 regulation win over the Florida Panthers. Luke Glendening scored twice to help the Red Wings notch their first six-game winning streak since Feb. 8-19, 2012.

Stephen Weiss posted a goal and two assists, Drew Miller scored a short-handed goal and Henrik Zetterberg also lit the lamp in the win. Petr Mrazek made 37 saves to anchor the victory.

"We really battled it out. It wasn't always pretty, but you've got to get those sometimes," Glendening said.

The Red Wings, who are 12-7-3 on the road this season, haven't won seven straight since Jan. 12-23, 2012.

With No. 1 netminder Jimmy Howard still out with a torn groin, the Red Wings could go with Mrazek in net again tonight. Mrazek's only career outing against Tampa came on Dec. 15 of last season when he surrendered two goals in a 3-0 home loss.

The Lightning entered the break on a three-game winning streak, but were handed a 4-2 loss by Carolina on Tuesday. The regulation loss coupled with Detroit's victory allowed the Red Wings to hop over Tampa for first place in the division.

Tampa Bay allowed Hurricanes captain Eric Staal to score just 22 seconds into Tuesday's game and the Bolts trailed for the rest of the game.

"You come out and give a goal up in the first 20 seconds of the game, unacceptable, and it's basically an own goal," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

Cedric Paquette and Brian Boyle supplied offense for the Lightning, while Ben Bishop took the loss after stopping only 18 pucks.

Tampa is hoping to get back on track tonight when it aims for a ninth straight home win. The Bolts haven't been defeated at Amalie Arena since dropping a 5-3 decision to Washington on Dec. 9 and boasts a 19-4-1 record as the host this season.

The Red Wings have suffered losses in their last two trips to Tampa and the Lightning are 1-0 in the 2014-15 season series after picking up a 4-3 shootout win in Detroit on Nov. 9. Tampa Bay has claimed five of the past six encounters in this series.

The Bolts, who complete a brief two-game homestand Saturday against Columbus, are expected to go with Bishop in net tonight. The club's No. 1 netminder owns a stellar 5-1-0 record and 1.69 goals against average in his career against Detroit.