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Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
This is the first of two meetings for Tampa Bay and the Minnesota Wild and the only game this season between the two at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The last time the Wild came to the Times Forum was on November 14, 2010, as Minnesota handed the Bolts a 4-1 loss. The Lightning are 2-3-2 in seven home contests versus the Wild.
The Big Story:
A lot of parity currently exists between the Lightning and Wild entering tonight’s 7:30 p.m. tilt. The Bolts’ power-play sits at sixth-best in the league (27.3%), while the Wild’s hovers at fifth in the NHL (29.0%). Both have also struggled recently on the penalty kill, with the Lightning’s ranking 23rd in the league, compared to the Wild’s penalty kill, which ranks 29 out of 30 teams.
LIGHTNING – The Lightning play the middle game of a season-long, seven-game homestand Thursday as they look to win their second contest in three nights. With the penalty kill struggling against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night, the Bolts immediately tweaked the amount of pressure they applied on special teams and results came quickly, stopping the Los Angeles Kings on all five power-plays Tuesday.
Wednesday morning Martin St. Louis was noticeably absent from practice and is a game time decision for tonight. In the case that St. Louis will miss Thursday’s game, the Bolts decided to recall forward Brett Connolly from their AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch last night. Connolly was tied for the lead in goals with Steven Stamkos during the 2013 preseason.
Though the Lightning are still working a goalie tandem compromised of Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback, head coach Jon Cooper has continued to ride with Bishop between the pipes. He’ll get his second straight start since missing a game with a lower body injury last week.
WILD – Despite outshooting the Toronto Maple Leafs 37-14, the Wild saw their three-game win streak come to a halt, losing 4-1 Tuesday night. Forward Jason Pominville scored the lone goal in the defeat for Minnesota on the power-play, who was in their second game of back-to-backs.
Entering the third game of a four-game road trip, the Wild play Tampa Bay for just the 15th time in franchise history. Minnesota has outshot opponents in all games but one into the young season.
Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis are both riding five-game point streaks. During that span the two have combined for 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists). Blueliner Sami Salo has collected assists in three straight games, registering a plus-6 rating during that stretch.
LIGHTNING – D Brian Lee (Knee, Out), F Tom Pyatt (Broken Collar Bone, Out), F Martin St. Louis (Lower Body, Day-to-Day), D Matt Taormina (Upper Body, Out); WILD – D Keith Ballard (Upper Body, Day-to-Day), G Nicklas Backtrom (Knee Strain, Day-to-Day), F Charlie Coyle (Knee Strain, Out), F Mike Rupp (Lower Body, Out)
10/16 – Recalled F Brett Connolly from Syracuse (AHL)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #TBLightning power-play is sixth in the @NHL convertin at a rate of 27.3%.
#TBLightning captain Martin St. Louis notched his fourth multi-point performance over his past five contests and ranks second in the @NHL for points with 10.
With two assists Tuesday, @RealStamkos91 has now amassed seven points (four goals, three assists) over his past three games.
Boasting a 4-0-0 record to start the season, @Benbishop30 has recorded a 1.71 goals-against average and .939 save percentage for the #TBLightning.
The #TBLightning have scored 16 goals over their past three games.
|Feb 04 '14||TBL 1 at MIN 2||D. Heatley|
|Oct 17 '13||MIN 1 at TBL 3||S. Stamkos|
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