[7:30 PM] Red Wings @ Lightning

Who will WIN this matchup?

Detroit Red Wings

@ Tampa Bay Lightning


Starting Goalies:

Petr Mrazek (DET): Confirmed

Ben Bishop (TB): Confirmed


Current odds:

Detroit Red Wings: (+150)

Tampa Bay Lightning: (-170)


The Tampa Bay Lightning have had the Stanley Cup within their reach the last two seasons and begin the quest to finish the job Thursday when they host the Detroit Red Wings in the season opener for both teams. The Lightning were able to keep the same core group together that fell in the 2015 finals and lost to eventual champion Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last season.

Detroit finished 23rd in the league in scoring last season and will need a little more from everyone to make up for the loss of two-way standout Datsyuk, who returned to Russia. Veteran Henrik Zetterberg, who struggled with a knee injury in the preseason, led the team with 50 points and Tomas Tatar is expected to make a major leap from his 45. The Red Wings might still be in the market for a defenseman to add to their top six, especially with top-pair blue liner Niklas Kronwall (knee) placed on injured reserve.

Kucherov, who played in the World Cup before returning to Russia, practiced Wednesday and joins a star-studded forward corps with Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn. While right wing Ryan Callahan (hip) is likely out until November, rookie forward Brayden Point earned a lineup spot with an outstanding training camp. The Lightning could have the top goaltender duo in the league as Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop teams with Andrei Vasilevskiy, who won three games in the Eastern Conference finals.

Larkin had 33 points in the first 48 games of his career before the All-Star break in 2015-16, but 12 in his final 32 contests of the regular season.

Hedman could make a run at the Norris Trophy after putting up 47 points and registering a career-best plus-21 rating in 2015-16.

Detroit G Petr Mrazek is expected be the No. 1 netminder after going 27-16-6 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .921 save percentage last season


StreakSmarts Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick