The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Detroit Red Wings Thursday (7:30 p.m., Detroit Bally Sports). It’s the Red Wings’ Opener and Game 2 for the Lightning (0-1). Here are seven reasons why can their first game against a prove champion:
1. Lightning slipping?
The Lightning looked disinterested and out of sync in their 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Tuesday opener. They didn’t look like a championship-caliber team.
2. Tight Games Last Season
The Detroit Red Wings were competitive against Tampa Bay last season. On April 4, the Red Wings defeated the Lightning 5-1 to end a 10-year losing streak in Tampa. They were 0-16-1 in their previous 17 game at Amalie Arena. Overall, the Red Wings were 3-4-1 against the two-time Stanley Cup champions in 2020-21. Two of their losses were by 2-1 verdicts.
3. Eroded Depth
In the offseason, the Lightning lost their entire third line (Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow) to the expansion draft and free agency. They also traded away Tyler Johnson who has been a Red Wing-abuser in the past. The Lightning are not as hard to play against as they were last season. Their depth has been eroded.
4. Salary Cap Problems
The Lightning only had five defensemen at practice Wednesday. Zach Bogosian wasn’t able to practice and the Lightning provided no update. Unless the Lightning place a player on Long-Term Injured Reserve they can’t call up a player from their farm team. They don’t have any cap space.
It’ll be interesting to monitor Zach Bogosian situation. Not able to practice today, with no update from @TBLightning. Tampa Bay has only five healthy ‘D’ and game in Detroit tomorrow. Foote still in red jersey. With no cap space, can’t call anyone up unless a player goes on LTIR
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) October 13, 2021
5. Stronger Roster
The Red Wings are an improved team over last season. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said the team’s defense is the deepest defensive he’s had since he took over as head coach. Thanks to the addition of Nick Leddy, Pius Suter, Lucas Raymond, Mitchell Stephens, etc., the Red Wings should score more goals. Assistant coach Alex Tanguay had the power play clicking at a higher rate in
6. The Wellness Plan
Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Robbie Fabbri are healthy at the same time. That’s another reason why the Red Wings should score more goals.
7. Fresh Perspective
The addition of rookies Raymond and Moritz Seider, plus the arrival of new players, including goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, has created a more positive aura.