WILD (3-2-2) at LIGHTNING (4-2-0)
TV: FS-N, SUN
Season series: The Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning last met in 2011, a 3-1 win by the Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Their last contest in Tampa was a 4-1 win by the Wild in 2010. They will also meet this season on Feb. 4 in Minnesota.
Big story: The Lightning look to stay hot as they welcome the Wild for the fourth game on their seven-game homestand. It is the third game of a four-game road trip for the Wild.
Wild: The Wild will try to get back on track after a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Backup goalie Darcy Kuemper, making his first start of the season and seventh in his career allowed four goals on seven shots before getting the hook midway through the second period.
“[I told him] just to keep his head up. I feel bad for the kid. First off, in fairness to him, that's a tough situation for a young goalie. I don't think he saw his first shot till the 12-minute mark, and then it's a bang-bang play [and] it's in the net,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said after the game.
Despite dominating the chances and outshooting the Maple Leafs, 37-14, the Wild were able to muster one goal.
“I thought our execution was really, really good tonight. … I thought that our puck possession time was heavily in our favor,” Yeo said. “So those are the things you have to do to win hockey games, and we didn't get the result we deserved tonight. We've just got to bounce back.”
Lightning: It’s no secret who the star was in the Lightning’s 5-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Ben Bishop stopped 30 of 31 shots and was flawless during five Kings power plays.
“Ultimately, in the end, your goalie has got to be your best penalty-kill guy and [Bishop] made the big saves. He's been pretty good for us. Bishop has played how we need him to play to win games,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper told the team’s website.
Bishop has been nothing short of remarkable this season. He has a perfect 4-0-0 record, a .939 save percentage and a 1.71 goals-against average. He has allowed seven goals in four games and no more than two goals in contest.
Martin St. Louis, who had a pair of goals and an assist in the win, noted the team has to keep winning on home ice during its extended homestand.
“I felt that we gave up at least one point in our last game. In this League, when you get a homestand, you can't lose two in a row,” he said.
Who's hot: St. Louis has four goals and 10 points in the past five games for the Lightning. … Jason Pominville has power-play goals in consecutive games for the Wild.
Injury report: Mike Rupp (knee) and Charlie Coyle (knee) are both on injured reserve for the Wild. Keith Ballard (undisclosed) and Niklas Backstrom (knee) both missed Tuesday’s game. … St. Louis, who blocked a shot with his foot against the Kings, did not practice Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day. Brian Lee (knee), Mattias Ohlund (knee) and Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) are all out for the Lightning.
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