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Lightning-Red Wings Preview

Thursday, 11.29.2007 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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Lightning-Red Wings Preview
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit hasn't hosted Tampa Bay in more than three years, but the Red Wings are no doubt glad to see the Lightning come to town again.

The Red Wings look to continue their success at home against the Lightning when the teams meet on Thursday.

Detroit is 10-1-1-0 all-time at home against the Lightning, including a 1-1 tie in the last meeting in Detroit on March 8, 2004. The Red Wings (16-6-2) have outscored Tampa Bay (10-12-2) by a combined score of 47-21 on their home ice.

Detroit's lone home defeat in the series was a 4-2 loss on Jan. 12, 1994. The teams have not met since the Red Wings posted a 6-3 win in Tampa Bay on Dec. 17, 2005.

The Red Wings are 9-2-0 at home this season and have won three of their last five overall. They beat Calgary 5-3 in Detroit on Tuesday behind a pair of goals from Pavel Datsyuk.

Datsyuk has three goals and three assists in his last three games, including a goal and an assist in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss in Columbus.

"He was the best guy on the ice tonight," coach Mike Babcock told the Red Wings' official team Web site. "I thought he was the other night too in Columbus. That's a good sign, and when he's going like that and feeling it like that, things happen for him, and that's good for our team."

However, the win was somewhat costly, as Kris Draper sprained his knee in the first period after scoring his first goal in 17 games. Draper, who has six goals and five assists, said he expects to be out 10-14 days.

"I don't know if I just fell on it awkward, and there was a twist," Draper told the Red Wings' site. "But I've been hit a lot worse and been in a lot more vulnerable situations and didn't have anything happen. The frustrating thing is that it was a harmless play,"

However, the Red Wings could get some help, as Babcock said center Tomas Kopecky will return to the lineup. Kopecky, who has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury, has no goals but has assisted on three.

The Lightning have dropped five straight and will be trying to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season. They lost 5-1 to Chicago on Wednesday, getting just one power play goal from Nick Tarnasky in the third period.

The power play score was just Tampa Bay's second in 17 chances during its current losing streak.

"During this stretch of games, we've played pretty good hockey and not gotten the results," assistant coach Mike Sullivan said. "Tonight, we just didn't give ourselves a chance to win."

Goalie Johan Holmqvist allowed three goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Marc Denis to start the third period. Holmqvist has allowed 16 goals while starting each of the last five losses.

"He haven't been playing that bad during this hiccup," said Denis, who allowed two goals on seven shots. "But tonight was a stinker. We need to find ways not to get behind the 8-ball like we have been."

Vincent Lecavalier, who leads the league with 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists), was held without a point after recording a goal and an assist in each of his previous two games.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 29 '07TBL 2 at DET 4T. Kopecky
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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