It’s Wednesday boys! You know what that means. That’s right, there’s going to be plenty of fun hockey on tap. Tonight we have a great evening of games that really highlight two very different tales of the tape. Up first at 7:30 ET we have the Detroit Red Wings facing off against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Shortly after the puck drops in Ottawa we have a clash between two of the flashiest teams in the league in Tampa Bay. At 8:00 ET we have the Geno Malkin-less Penguins going to battle against the star studded Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Detroit Red Wings Vs. Ottawa Senators
Ehh…well this one might be a bit of a snooze fest huh boys? Oh well though cause you know we love the game regardless of who’s playing here at VFTPB. This game features quite the contrast from the 8 o’clock showdown down in Tampa. This won’t stop these teams from these putting it all on the line in this one. Both teams are trying to find an identity, but quite frankly I think everyone can see what those identities are from the outside. These are two young teams that are in the process of rebuilding.
The Red Wings couldn’t have picked a better GM to bring them back to hockey in the summer. You better believe Wings legend himself Steve Yzerman will absolutely put these guys back on track. He made his message loud and clear this offseason right off the bat drafting a surprise pick in German defenseman, Moritz Seider. Were many people surprised, especially with the amount of talent still on the board? of course. Was I? no. Being a Tampa native I know better than anyone that everyone out there ought not question Stevie Y. He will be bold but he will, in the long term, make this franchise the franchise they used to and should be.
In the offseason the Ottawa Senators took a bit of a similar angle to Detroit and drafted Finnish defenseman Lassi Thomson. These moves make sense as both teams bled goals against all year long last year. The Wings gave up 277 goals while Ottawa gave up a league high 302!
Currently while both teams are still in the Atlantic division cellar, they’ve at least somewhat improved. Neither are the worst in goals-against in the Atlantic, with the Toronto Maple Leafs taking that cake. However, both teams have the worst two goals-for total. It’ll be interesting to see which team will prevail when the early candidate for stinker game of the year comes to Ottawa.
Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Now this is going to be an absolute fun one to watch. At 6-4 the Pittsburgh Penguins may not look peak pens, but they look solid. They started the year off 6-2 before finally seeing the effects of losing star forward Evgeni Malkin catch up to them. However, they’ve shown flashes so far this season hinting that they’re determined to put last year behind them. Sidney Crosby is throwing backhanders into the net every night and Kris Letang looks to be playing extremely confident. While they’ll miss Malkin’s scoring prowess, you’ve gotta believe that the penguins will stay focused. They look to improve to 7-4 down in Tampa Bay after dropping a frustrating 4-2 game to the Florida Panthers.
On the other side of the face-off dot we have the Tampa Bay Lightning. Did the absolute wagon of all wagons lose its wheels and fly off a cliff last year? Yes. Don’t worry though Bolts fans, you signed Patty Maroon and Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason. Everything’s peachy right? Um probably not. The Tampa Bay Lightning have looked out of sorts through eight games. At times they look like a powerhouse, steamrolling through Toronto and Montreal. Other times they put up stinkers like they did Saturday night to Colorado Avalanche. Can they shut out the noise and stay motivated to put wins up on the board? We’ll see tonight when the Bolts look to improve to 5-3-1.