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Minnesota Wild at Tampa Bay Lightning: two of the youngest franchises clash

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The Lightning seek to continue their brilliance against Western Conference opponents this season.

Minnesota Wild @ Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #35

Time: 7:00 Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena Arena

Broadcast / Streaming: SUN, FS—N

Opponent SBNation Site: Hockey Wilderness

Preview:

With Devan Dubnyk out with a lower-body injury, the Wild are relying on career backup Alex Stalock to carry the load in net for the time being. Interesting note to add: Stalock and former Crunch goaltender Adam Wilcox are cousins, and both tended the net for South St. Paul High School in Minnesota.

The Wild are enjoying a decent December so far, having gone 6-4-0, including a loss at the hands of our cross-state rivals the Florida Panthers last night, after the Wild led 2-1 after two.

Although it took the Lightning a shootout to come away victorious on Thursday night against the Senators, the Bolts carried the majority of play for the last two frames and would’ve cruised to a victory had it not be for their porous penalty killing and a fluky goal.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Dotchin and Coburn haven’t been playing up to par the past few games. Coburn has seen a ton of time in the penalty box, and Dotchin had some egregious turnovers against Ottawa. I would love to see Koekkoek again playing alongside Hedman, but knowing Cooper, that’s extremely wishful thinking.

Although the travel between games for the Wild is minimal, the Lightning need to get off to a strong start—something they did not do on Thursday against the Sens. An early goal or two could easily kill the psyche of the Wild, who will likely be tired and looking forward to the Christmas break, as their four-game, seven-night road trip culminates tonight.

Comparison Chart

@loserpoints’ note:

As is always the case with Bruce Boudreau coached teams, the Wild are a team based on success at generating and suppressing shot quality. Minnesota is getting outshot by a comfortable margin but they are still generating more expected goals than their opponents because of the gap in shot danger.

With both of these teams among the league leaders defensively, opportunities to score could be difficult to find. If that happens, finishing will be key and the Lightning have a clear advantage in that area.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Forward Lines:

Vladislav Namestnikov — Steven Stamkos — Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Tyler Johnson

Alex KillornYanni GourdeCory Conacher

Chris Kunitz — Cedric Paquette — J.T. Brown

Defense Pairings:

Victor Hedman — Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev — Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn — Dan Girardi

Goaltenders:

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Minnesota Wild:

Forward Lines:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuMikael Granlund

Nino NiederreiterEric StaalCharlie Coyle

Joel Eriksson-Ek — Daniel WinnikChris Stewart

Marcus FolignoMatt CullenTyler Ennis

Defense Pairings:

Ryan SuterMatt Dumba

Jonas BrodinJared Spurgeon

Mike ReillyNate Prosser

Goaltenders:

Alex Stalock

Steve Michalek