The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. EST at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. The Lightning opened their season on Tuesday night in Florida against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were the nail while the Penguins were the hammer.
Down 3-1 in the 3rd period, head coach Jon Cooper pulled Andrei Vasilevskiy early with more than 5 minutes left in the game. It was an interesting strategy to pull their netminder that early down only 2 goals, but when you’re coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups, you can experiment in the first game.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 14, 2021
The Lightning looked hungover in their season opener after winning their third Stanley Cup in franchise history last year. The Bolts dispatched the Montreal Canadiens in five games to win their second straight Cup. They were doing a good job falling short of expectations for years in the Steven Stamkos era, but the Bolts exploded for two Cups in a row.
Did you see what happened there Avalanche? The Avalanche are in a similar spot in the sense that they have all of the talent in the world, but have come up short in the playoffs. It could be a matter of time if the Avs can keep their core together. After two straight championships, are the Lightning going to run out of gas this season?
Pat Maroon was only the fourth player in NHL history to win three straight Cups. The last team to win three straight Cups were the New York Islanders from 1980 to 1983. That ended up being four in a row for that memorable Islanders squad. The Lightning are getting older, but still have the talent to go back-to-back-to-back.
Don’t get too worked up over what they did against the Penguins. This is a long season and the Lightning are going to come back strong? It can’t be guaranteed in Detroit, but the Lightning will get going at some point. Not against the Red Wings? Maybe, I believe so, but the Red Wings are going to be improved and looking for a spot in the playoffs. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Red Wings pick on October 14, 2021.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-1.5 (+115)||-205||Over 5.5 (-109)|
|Detroit Red Wings||+1.5 (+133)||+184||Under 5.5 (-111)|
|Team Data||Tampa Bay Lightning||Detroit Red Wings|
|Goals Per Game||2.0||0.0|
|Goals Against Per Game||6.0||0.0|
|Shots Per game||28.0||0.0|
|Shots Against Per Game||35.0||0.0|
Lightning vs. Red Wings Prediction:
The Lightning looked flat footed against the Penguins in their season opener. They were outplayed and didn’t deserve a win in that one. Puck luck is a thing, but the Lightning didn’t deserve any lucky win. That said, the Lightning will likely come through with a much better effort against the Red Wings.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is projected to be back between the pipes tonight. He won a Vezina Trophy in 2019, and is coming off a season where he could have won it again. Vasilevskiy notched a 2.21 GAA and 0.925 save percentage through 42 starts last year. He had a 3.11 GAA against the Penguins to open the season, but expect him to fix that in Detroit.
The Lightning were sixth in goals against per game with 2.59 goals allowed per game. They were consistent offensively behind 48 points from Brayden Point. Note that Nikita Kucherov missed all of the regular season after undergoing hip injury, but the Lightning didn’t miss a beat, and still finished in the top-10 with 3.21 goals per game.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings Betting Trends:
- 16-4 overall in their previous 20 games versus the Red Wings
- 9-3 overall in their previous 12 games versus the Red Wings in Detroit
- 42-10 overall in their previous 52 games versus the Atlantic Division
- 66-17 overall in their previous 83 games after scoring 2 or fewer goals
- UNDER is 5-2 in their previous seven games versus the Atlantic Division
- 35-80 overall in their previous 115 games versus the Atlantic
- 33-90 overall in their previous 123 games
- 15-33 overall in their previous 48 games on a Thursday
- UNDER is 17-6-3- in their previous 26 games at Little Caesars Arena
The Red Wings are heading in the right direction. This is still a young team, but they’re trending up at least. If head coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t get improvement out of this group, then his job is going to be on a burning hot seat. It’s hot right now, but he can’t afford a bad campaign in 2021-22.
Blashill and the Red Wings were handed really bad news with the injury to Jakub Vrana. That puts a big wrinkle in their lineup. The 25-year-old figured to play a big role after going to Detroit in a trade with the Washington Capitals. The deal was made in mind for this season and the future, but Vrana is done for at least four months with a shoulder injury.
The Lightning won’t mind seeing Vrana absent from the lineup. They will see 25-year-old former Cane, Alex Nedeljkovic, between the pipes. Nedeljkovic was entering arbitration, so the Hurricanes wanted to get something for him. He was strong with a 1.90 GAA and 0.932 save percentage in 23 games last season.
Steve Yzerman did good on this deal, though Nedeljokovic is going from a fundamentally sound defensive team in the Hurricanes to the Wings. The Red Wings were 20th in the NHL with 3 goals allowed per game. Conversely, the Hurricanes are a top-5 defense.
The Red Wings ranked next to last ahead of the Anaheim Ducks offensively. They netted just 2.23 goals per game. And while improvement will be made in 2021-22, the Vrana injury stings right off the bat. After a lifeless performance to open the season, expect the Bolts to come out hitting. I feel favorably about the Red Wings this season, but this is a tough season opener. The Lightning by 4-2 looks correct.