Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-3-3); Minnesota (6-4-0)
Season Series: This is the first and only meeting between the two clubs this season. Last year, the Bolts recorded one point in two games against the Wild, coming at the St. Pete Times Forum. First-year Bolts Alex Tanguay and Mattias Ohlund are Tampa Bay’s all-time scorers against Minnesota, totaling 38 and 14 points respectively.
Big Story: Tampa Bay remains the only unbeaten team in regulation at home this season in the Eastern Conference, while Minnesota has struggled on the road, posting a 2-8-0 record, totaling four points in just 10 games.
LIGHTNING – After returning from a successful four-game road trip in which Tampa Bay picked up five points (2-1-1), the Bolts kick off a two-game home stand tonight, concluding with a contest against the upstart Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. The spectacular play of Antero Niittymaki has earned him his fourth consecutive start in goal, while winger Alex Tanguay has found his form, joining the consistent scoring efforts of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone.
WILD – Minnesota will attempt to improve its record away from the Xcel Energy Center in its second game of a four-game road trip that wraps up Sunday in Carolina. The Wild got off on the right foot with a 5-2 win at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs, with Mikko Koivu recording three points in the win. Martin Havlat, last season’s leading scorer for the Chicago Blackhawks, will look to get on track after recording just two goals and six assists in 15 games.
- Steven Stamkos has recorded nine goals in his previous nine games and is tied for second in the NHL with 12 goals.
- Ryan Malone has tallied eight points in his last eight games, and Alex Tanguay has recorded seven points in his last six games.
- For the Wild, Kyle Brodziak has totaled four points in his last four games and Marek Zidlicky has scored five points in his last three games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – None; WILD – Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, placed on Injured Reserve).
Quotable: “We're right in the thick of it. The way it feels in the dressing room, the way we're acting, the way we're playing, the confidence we have, we're right there, and we want to stay there. It really feels like a team. We really know we're going in one direction.” – Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier
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