LIGHTNING (32-18-5) at WILD (29-21-7)
TV: SUN, FS-N
Last 10: Tampa Bay 5-4-1; Minnesota 5-3-2
Season series: This is the second and final game of the season. Steven Stamkos and Sami Salo scored late third period goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 18 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Big story: With a win, the Lightning would salvage a .500 four-game road trip before heading home for two games before the Olympic break. Minnesota is back home after going 1-1-2 on a four-game trip of its own.
Lightning: It's been a so-so stretch for the Lightning, who have won only five of their past 10 and gone from a tie with the Boston Bruins (73 points) atop the Atlantic Division to now trailing the Bruins by four points. The Lightning are also trying to hold off the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs, who have won eight of 10 and now trail Tampa by only three points in the standings. The Lightning have two games in hand on the Maple Leafs and need to capitalize on pre-break games to set the table for the final weeks of the season.
Tampa Bay is coming off what Lightning forward Nate Thompson called a "character win" Saturday in a 2-1 overtime victory at the Montreal Canadiens. Thompson scored both goals for the Lightning.
"We were focused on the task at hand, make sure we go out and play the right way no matter who's in net, no matter who's in the lineup," Thompson told the Tampa Bay Times. "Everyone contributed, everyone did the right things and we were rewarded for it."
Wild: A road-trip that started out with such promise -- an overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks followed by a potential season-defining win against the Anaheim Ducks -- ended in disappointment when the Wild struggled in the second period of consecutive games at the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames, struggles that played big parts in losses to each team.
Minnesota showed resiliency in each game, battling back from multigoal deficits in the third period each night, even salvaging a point in Calgary, but missed a chance to have an even better trip.
"It's a big point, no question, but starts have cost us the last two games," forward Dany Heatley said. "We've got to take the points right now, but the start of this trip was a tough trip, a lot of travel, some good teams. We'll take the four but we would've liked six, I think."
Who's hot: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has been on a point-scoring tear of late, scoring two points in each of the past two games and 10 points in his past five. He's also a plus-3 in that stretch. … On Monday, Wild forward Zach Parise was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Feb. 2 after scoring three goals and five assists against Anaheim, Colorado and Calgary. His eight points led the League in that span.
Injury report: Wild forward Mikko Koivu (fractured ankle) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) will not play. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon returns to the lineup after missing 14 games with a foot injury. … Stamkos (leg) and goaltender Anders Lindback (lower body) are out for the Lightning. Forward Valtteri Filppula is questionable.
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