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Tonight on Versus: It’s the Steve Yzerman showdown in Detroit

Steve Yzerman, Wayne Fleming.

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, right, talks with assistant coach Wayne Fleming during practice for their first round NHL playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, April 12, 2011 in Tampa, Fla. Game one of the best-of-seven series begins Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Fleming is back with the team after having a procedure last week to remove a brain tumor. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


These reunions are always a little awkward, aren’t they? Steve Yzerman being the GM of the Lightning and former captain of the Red Wings helps spice up tonight’s game (7:30 p.m. ET) between two non-rivals that rarely meet.

Of course, Yzerman’s presence is merely as an executive but that won’t stop Wings fans from being torn about seeing “Stevie Y” coming back to town. Lost in all that hoopla is the fact that this game features a metric ton of forward talent. Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning going up against Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen for Detroit.

Making this game all the more fun is the fact that both teams ride in playing well of late. Detroit has won three in a row while the Lightning are winners of two of their last three after getting bumped off by the Wild Monday night.

Where tonight’s game gets curious is in goal. Jimmy Howard has been showing that him being left off the All-Star ballot was probably a big mistake. Meanwhile, Tampa’s gotten things right with Mathieu Garon playing well lately.

Will the Lightning’s 1-3-1 defense fluster the Red Wings’ potent attack or will it spur them on into attacking a Lightning team that’s had issues keeping the puck out of the net? Expect the Wings to bring the attack to them and show Steve Yzerman the way things used to be when he was there.