Season Series: This is the only meeting. Last season, the Red Wings earned a 4-3 road win on Nov. 13, 2008. Henrik Zetterberg, Mikael Samuelsson and Johan Franzen scored third-period goals to lead Detroit to victory.
"We're finding a way, and that’s all you can ask," coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. "We've just got to keep grinding and keep grinding and keep hanging in there, and if we do that, we’ll have a good year."
Lightning: This is the fourth contest in a six-game road trip that has begun with losses against Colorado (2-1, shootout), Chicago (4-0) and Nashville (7-4).
Leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos broke out of a season-high eight-game goal-less drought and Vincent Lecavalier recorded his first 2-goal game of the season on Tuesday against the Predators. Stamkos' goal was his 18th.
"He's playing with a lot more puck poise and a he’s a lot more aggressive with the puck," Lightning associate coach Rick Wilson said. "That was a tremendous individual effort by him."
Still struggling are veteran forwards Alex Tanguay and Jeff Halpern, who were benched for Tuesday's game by coach Rick Tocchet. Tampa Bay dressed eight defensemen, using David Hale and Kurtis Foster for as forwards on the fourth line.
"We've got eight (losses) in nine, and I don't like the trend, certain individuals and as a team," Tocchet told the Tampa Tribune. "And that's probably my fault for letting it go the past three or four games. Sometimes you put the onus on the players and certain people to straighten it. But ultimately it's on my (rear end). Hopefully we’ll have 18 or 19 guys going and not just 11 or 12."
Red Wings: Detroit is wrapping up a two-game home stand that began with a 3-2 victory against Phoenix on Monday.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard made 30 saves and Kris Newbury, Patrick Eaves and Derek Meech provided the goals. The win was overshadowed by the loss of Ericsson to an injured left knee late in the first period. He will miss at least two weeks with a bone bruise.
"It's a minimum of two weeks, but we can't really put a time frame on it," GM Ken Holland told the Free Press. "But we feel a little bit fortunate because there's no ligament damage."
Who's Hot: For the Lightning, Lecavalier has 2 goals and an assist in his last two games, Kurtis Foster has a goal and an assist in his last two games, and Martin St. Louis has a goal and 4 assists in his last four games. For the Red Wings, Drew Miller has a goal and 2 assists in his last two games, Todd Bertuzzi has 4 goals in his last three games, and Pavel Datsyuk has 3 assists in his last three games.
Stat Pack: Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning have totaled 33 goals, ranked in third place for most among NHL teammates behind Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau (41) and Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin (34). … Among current NHL players selected in the 1998 Entry Draft, Lightning forwards Vincent Lecavalier (698) and Alex Tanguay (597) rank first and second, respectively, in most career points. … Since the 1996-97 season, Detroit has won more games (655) than any other team in the NHL. … Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is one win away from 300 in his NHL career. … Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood is four wins away from 400 in his NHL career.
Puck Drop: "The depth of our organization will be tested. But we have all these injuries, and today we’re in the eighth spot in our conference. We're right in the thick of things." -- Detroit GM Ken Holland to the Free Press