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Wild @ Lightning: Game preview, TV broadcast schedule, start time

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The Wild continue their road trip by taking on the scuffling Tampa Bay Lightning.

Steven Stamkos has been quiet so far this season, but the Wild would be foolish to sleep on him tonight.
Steven Stamkos has been quiet so far this season, but the Wild would be foolish to sleep on him tonight.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild @ Tampa Bay Lightning

6:00 PM Central, Amalie Arena
Watch on: Fox Sports North +
SB Nation's Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

The Tampa Bay Lightning were the breakout young team of last season, winning 50 games before going on a deep run that culminated in a Stanley Cup Final appearance. It wasn't hard to see why. Not only did they have two stars in Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, but a lot of their young forward depth took a big step. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov combined to create an offensive force that needed to be accounted for. The Lightning lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games, but with so much youth on the roster, it felt more like a question of when- not if- the Cup would return to Tampa for the first time since 2004.

Fast forward to today. Almost halfway through the season, and the Lightning find themselves 3 points out of a playoff spot. Stamkos, who can normally be counted on for 50+ goals and a healthy amount of assists, is only on pace for 35 goals and 60 points, his lowest full-season total since his rookie year. Johnson returned from injury this week, but he's had a rough season. Palat has been out for three weeks, and has struggled as well. No one has really stepped up to carry the load, either, as Stamkos and Kucherov are the only Lightning players who have reached even the 20-point mark.

With their offense fizzling, what's kept them in the playoff race has been their goaltending. Ben Bishop has carried the load for the Lightning and excelled, posting a 2.06 GAA- second in the league among goalies with 20+ games played. It's one of the things that give Tampa hope that they can get back into the playoffs and make another deep run. If their young talent can get back on track, they'll be a tough match-up for the Wild tonight.

Speaking of the Wild, they just expelled the bad taste of a mediocre homestand by winning a road game against St. Louis. Zach Parise re-aggravated his knee injury, and is questionable to play tonight. If he plays, the Wild will have a lineup decision to make. Justin Fontaine had an assist and Erik Haula added an assist to his game-winning goal, so they'd presumably be safe. It'd then likely come down to either Ryan Carter, Chris Porter, or Jarret Stoll.


Projected Lineups

Minnesota Wild

Left Wing


Right Wing

Jason Zucker

Mikko Koivu

Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek

Mikael Granlund

Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter

Erik Haula

Justin Fontaine

Chris Porter

Jarret Stoll

Ryan Carter

Left Defensemen

Right Defensemen

Ryan Suter

Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella

Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin

Nate Prosser


Devan Dubnyk

Niklas Backstrom

Tampa Bay Lightning

Left Wing


Right Wing

Vladislav Namestnikov

Steven Stamkos

Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn

Tyler Johnson

J.T. Brown

Cedric Paquette

Valtteri Filppula

Ryan Callahan

Jonathan Drouin

Brian Boyle

Jonathan Marchessault

Left Defensemen

Right Defensemen

Victor Hedman

Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison

Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn

Nikita Nesterov


Ben Bishop

Kristers Gudlevskis