Minnesota Wild at Tampa Bay Lightning: two of the youngest franchises clash
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
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.
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:
Vladislav Namestnikov — Steven Stamkos — Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn — Yanni Gourde — Cory Conacher
Chris Kunitz — Cedric Paquette — J.T. Brown
Victor Hedman — Jake Dotchin
Mikhail Sergachev — Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn — Dan Girardi
Jason Zucker — Mikko Koivu — Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter — Eric Staal — Charlie Coyle
Joel Eriksson-Ek — Daniel Winnik — Chris Stewart
Marcus Foligno — Matt Cullen — Tyler Ennis
Ryan Suter — Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin — Jared Spurgeon
Mike Reilly — Nate Prosser