Lightning try to extend win streak vs. Wild
The Tampa Bay Lightning will aim for a third straight victory when they visit the Minnesota Wild for tonight's interconference clash at Xcel Energy Center.
The Lightning had dropped two straight and four of five before getting back on track with a home-and-home sweep of the Florida Panthers. After getting destroyed by Toronto, 7-1, on Tuesday, the Bolts posted an overtime win Friday at Florida and then slammed the Panthers, 5-1, in Tampa on the following day.
Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist to help lead the Lightning to Saturday's blowout win. Stamkos has three goals in the last two games after notching the OT game-winner in Friday's 2-1 win at the BankAtlantic Center.
With 14 markers on the season, Stamkos is second only to Toronto's Phil Kessel for the league lead. Kessel has 16 tallies on the season.
Mathieu Garon stopped 24 shots in Saturday's win, while Martin St. Louis, Tom Pyatt and Ryan Malone also added goals.
"We're showing what we have now," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher. "It took a little while, but I saw it in training camp and we're going to keep it going here. This is our team."
The Lightning won the last two games without forward Steve Downie, who suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday against Toronto. Downie is questionable for tonight's contest.
Tampa Bay is playing two straight and six of its next seven games on the road, where Boucher's team is just 4-6-2 this season.
The Wild had won five in a row and 10 of 12 before getting dealt consecutive 5-2 defeats over the weekend.
Minnesota, which leads the Northwest Division by two points over Vancouver, was 3-0 on a six-game homestand before losing to Edmonton by the 5-2 score. The Wild lost by the same score on Sunday when it hosted the Calgary Flames.
Cal Clutterbuck and Nick Johnson scored on Sunday for Minnesota, which has yet to lose three straight games this season. Niklas Backstrom stopped just 5-of-8 shots before being pulled in the first period. Josh Harding made 25 saves the rest of the way.
The Wild fell to 8-4-1 as the host this year and are completing the six-game residency tonight. Minnesota will play six of its next seven games on the road, beginning with Wednesday's test in Edmonton.
Tampa has taken two of the last three meetings with the Wild, but Minnesota still has won four of six in this series overall. The Wild also have four wins in six all-time encounters in St. Paul.