1. They have things in common with the Lightning
And they go beyond Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman, who played his entire Hall of Fame career with Detroit. Both teams have speedy, skilled forwards. Detroit is lauded for its experience but also has a notable youth movement, as does Tampa Bay. Detroit wings Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist competed against the Lightning's young core when the latter won the 2012 AHL Calder Cup with Norfolk. "They're just fun to play against," said Lightning center and Cup winner Tyler Johnson (right).
2. The Wings are on one of the most impressive streaks in professional sports
Detroit is in the playoffs for the 24th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the four major North American pro sports leagues and tied for fourth longest in NHL history. The last time the Red Wings ended a season out of the playoffs was 1990. That's two years before the Lightning played its first game and before 13 current Lightning players had been born. "There's no fluke there," Lightning center Steven Stamkos said. "They know how to win at this time of the year." Detroit's roster members have played a combined 1,011 playoff games.
3. Watch for flying octopuses
The Red Wings proudly have images of an octopus on their website, and fans have been known to throw octopuses onto the ice. Why? Because 63 years ago, two market owners in Detroit threw an octopus onto the ice, with the sea creature's eight tentacles representing the number of wins needed at that time to claim the Stanley Cup.
4. Don't get Kronwalled
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall is so well known for his hard hits that fans once made a website, kronwalled.net, that had a list of opponents he had leveled over the years. His last name became a verb with an Urban Dictionary definition: "Sudden change in orientation from vertical to horizontal, due to contact with a body or substance of great influence." A YouTube video even shows the Detroit crowd chanting "You got Kronwalled" after one hit on the Lightning's Ryan Callahan.
5. The Wings' biggest question mark is in goal
It hasn't risen to the debate level of the Tampa Bay area's "Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota?" but Detroit fans had been wondering who would be the starting goalie in the playoffs. The Red Wings opted for 23-year-old rookie Petr Mrazek over Jimmy Howard, a veteran of 45 playoff games. "Mrazek didn't win the job," the Detroit Free Press wrote. "Howard lost it."