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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Minnesota Wild preview: Can the Bolts end the Wild’s hot streak?

Alex Killorn is expected to return.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Minnesota Wild Game 26

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun

Opponent SBNation Site: Hockey Wilderness

Preview:

The Tampa Bay Lightning are facing another opponent from the Central Division tonight. The Lightning are still without a win over any of them in regulation time. In six game against teams from the Central Division, the Bolts’ only win came against the Nashville Predators in overtime on Tuesday.

The Lightning announced yesterday that Cory Conacher has been reassigned to the Syracuse Crunch. Per Tampa Bay Lightning beat reporter Bryan Burns, Alex Killorn is very likely ready to play against the Wild, although he didn’t participate during practice on Wednesday. But then this morning, the team recalled Conacher again suggesting that maybe Killorn won’t be ready to go? This is all very confusing and we likely won’t know until game time how the forward group will shake out.

Lightning defenceman Eric Cernak hasn’t yet received any punishment after his questionable hit on Daniel Carr during the last game. And if he doesn’t hear from the Department of Player Safety today, he’ll be in the lineup.

After a very frustrating start, the Minnesota Wild managed to got back on track. They currently have 10-game point streak and 4-game winning streak, going 7-0-3 over the last ten games. They are still technically out of the playoffs, but the gap between them and the closest team in the division is just three points and the Wild have also one game in hand.

However, the Wild have to deal with unexpected injuries. After playing in his 1000th game, Mikko Koivu got injured in the third period of their last game against the Florida Panthers. At this moment, he’s listed as day-to-day. The Wild have also lost their top-pair defenseman Jared Spurgeon, whose hand was broken after blocking an Alexander Barkov shot. Devan Dubnyk is also not available due to personal issues. In his absence, rookie goaltender Kaapo Kakhonen has two wins, including 44-shot victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn (?) - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos

Patrick Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde

Tyler Johnson - Mathieu Joseph

Scratched: Carter Verhaeghe

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn

Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Minnesota Wild

Forward Lines

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mats Zucarello

Zach Parise - Luke Kunin - Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway - Joel Erikson Ek - Ryan Hartman

Marcus Foligno - Victor Rask - Ryan Donato

Injuried: Mikko Koivu

Defense Pairings

Ryan Suter - Matthew Dumba

Carson Soucy - Jonas Brodin

Nick Seeler - Brad Hunt

Injuried: Jared Spurgeon, Greg Pateryn

Goaltenders

Kaapo Kakhonen

Alex Stalock