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Preview: Lightning at Wild

Tampa Bay center Tyler Johnson out with undisclosed injury; Minnesota looks to take advantage of eight-game homestand

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

LIGHTNING (24-24-6) at WILD (35-12-6)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV

 

Lightning team scope

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson won't play because of an undisclosed injury. Johnson was on the ice during the morning skate but did not participate in line rushes. He was injured during Tampa Bay's 5-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, according to coach Jon Cooper. "It's tough, we've got these back-to-back games," Cooper said, referring to the second half of the Lightning's back-to-back at the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. "He's out tonight and we'll make that determination tomorrow, but with such a quick turnaround there's going to have to be some massive healing." Johnson is fourth on Tampa Bay in scoring with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) and is one point away from 200 in his NHL career. Forward Ondrej Palat, who missed the past two games with a foot injury, will return and fill in on the top line. Palat has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) this season. The Lightning, 5-9-2 in their past 16 games and 2-6-3 in their past 11 on the road, begin a four-game trip, looking for their third consecutive win. Tampa Bay is six points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will start after Ben Bishop made 28 saves against the Kings. "We're in back-to-back [game] situations and we've got both our goalies, and they're both good," Cooper said. "Obviously [Bishop] had a shutout [Tuesday] but [Bishop] played a couple in a row and gave us a chance to win games, and we did, and now it's [Vasilievskiy's] turn. We have full confidence it's going to happen."

 

Wild team scope

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start after getting the night off against Chicago; backup darcy Kuemper played in a 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday. Dubnyk is tied for first in the NHL in wins (29), is second in the League in save percentage (.933) and third in goals-against average (1.99). Minnesota, 11-3-1 in its past 15 games, is playing the second of an eight-game homestand. The Wild are 4-3-1 in their last eight games at Xcel Energy Center, 17-6-1 this season. "We'd certainly like to establish a great home record," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "If you want to end up in first place and have home ice advantage it's important to believe that you're not going to lose at home. In that vein [this homestand], it's important." Minnesota holds first place in the Central Division, five points ahead of the Blackhawks with two games in hand. "You have to realize how hard it is to win," forward Jason Pominville said, "and we're in a pretty good position to make a push and make a run, so we've got to make sure everyone hops on board no matter what their role is. You have to show up with a smile and when you win, it's pretty easy to do that." Pominville has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games. Forward Chris Stewart is two points from 300 in his NHL career.

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Brian Boyle -- Valtteri Filppula -- Erik Condra

Gabriel Dumont -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured:  Ryan Callahan (hip), Steven Stamkos (knee), Adam Erne (broken foot), Tyler Johnson (undisclosed)

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson -- Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Christian Folin

Injured: Jonas Brodin (finger), Victor Bartley (arm)

 

Status report

The Lightning assigned forwards Joel Vermin and Michael Bournival to Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

 

Who's hot

Granlund has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in his past 14 games. … Niederreiter has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 14 games. … Zucker has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games. 

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