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GAMEDAY: Wild at Tampa Bay

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild at Tampa Bay
Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Minnesota Wild (3-2-2: 8 points, T-6th in Western Conference, T-3rd in Central Division) at Tampa Bay Lightning (4-2-0: 8 points, T-4th in Eastern Conference, T-3rd in Atlantic Division)
It doesn’t feel much like hockey weather down here in Tampa Bay as the Minnesota Wild is set to take on the Lightning for only the 15th time in the organization’s history. All time, the Wild is 9-3-2, with a 4-1-2 in the Sun Shine State. While the Wild is in the third game of its four game road trip, Tampa is in the middle of a seven-game home stand.

Tonight, the Wild looks to get back to its winning ways after having a three-game win streak snapped in its last outing against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Through seven games, Minnesota’s new puck-control philosophy has been on full display as the team has outshot opponents in all but one contest. The team’s neutral zone transition game has led to increased shots, better looks off the rush and increased sustained offensive zone pressure. The benefits to controlling the puck longer have extended into the defensive end. The Wild is giving up the least shots to opponents in the NHL (20.6 per game), while it has the second highest shot differential (plus-10.7).

On Tuesday, the Wild played the second game in back-to-back nights and were downed by the Leafs, 4-1, despite owning a 37-14 shot advantage over Toronto. Minnesota fell behind early, and cut the lead on a Jason Pominville power play goal, his second-consecutive game scoring on the man advantage. Pominville took a centering pass from Mikko Koivu, kicked the puck up to his forehand, was denied on his first attempt and buried the rebound into the upper-right corner of the net. Darcy Kuemper started the game, but was relived by Josh Harding after giving up a third goal. The Leafs added an empty netter with less than a minute left in the game.

Tampa beat up on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, rolling to a 5-1 victory. Martin St. Louis scored twice, while Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos added tallies. Bolts goaltender Ben Bishop made 30 saves for the win.

The Lightning has gotten off to a quick start going 4-2-0 through its first six games. St. Louis has a large part in the Lightning’s early success, scoring 10 points (4-6=10), but he is a game-time decision. The Lightning recalled Brian Connolly in case St. Louis is unavailable. He didn’t skate yesterday after blocking a shot from Drew Doughty and is considered day-to-day.
 
With the Wild on the road, it continues to look for fan engagement with the Red Baron Roadie. The contest is how fans can win great items like autographed merchandise, and maybe even a spot on the 2014-15 Fan Road Trip. Visit the contest rules page for more info on how to enter.
Meet the Bolts If You're Going
The Wild will have to get past a hot goaltender tonight in Bishop. He has a spotless 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.

Offensively, Minnesota will be wary of Tampa’s superstar Steven Stamkos. He is second on the team in scoring with nine points (4-5=10). He’s won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice as the League’s top goal scorer.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The Times Forum will be lavender-clad for the game, including arena dasher boards at ice level and additional signage. Lightning personalities will don lavender, including the Lightning Girls, ThunderBug, Ice Crew and the Bolts Brigade. A number of educational and non-profit groups will also be on Ford Thunder Alley pre-game.


The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Josh Harding has earned victories in three straight starts, one game shy of his career-best four consecutive regulation wins (last, 10/25-11/5/11). Entering play Wednesday, he leads the NHL with a 0.94 goals-against average and ranks sixth amongst all goalies with a .952 save percentage.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge presented by the Pioneer Press for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo | Pominville | Fontaine | Parise
PONDcast
Wild at Tampa - Oct. 17
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The forward lines will remain the same as Tuesday:


Parise—Koivu—Niederreiter
Heatley—Granlund—Pominville
Cooke—Brodziak—Fontaine
Mitchell—Konopka—Veilleux

And here's the D-pairs:

Suter—Brodin
Spurgeon—Dumba
Stoner—Scandella

Harding is expected to get the nod in net. Tonight’s contest will be the first time facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.
View From The Press Box
We recognized that we played a good game. The one thing about games like that, moral victories if you want to call them that, is they don’t mean anything if you don’t come out the next game and respond the right way. 

- Yeo on responding tonight against Tampa
Ballard will miss another game, as a preventative measure after taking a puck to the face Monday in Buffalo. Prosser will join him.

Charlie Coyle is on Injured Reserve with a knee sprain and is expected to a few more weeks. Mike Rupp is still out with a lower-body injury and on IR. Niklas Backstrom is on the trip, but not ready yet as he recovers from a knee strain.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
D Brian Lee is a native of Moorhead. LW Ryan Malone played four seasons at St. Cloud State (199-03). Lightning CEO Tod Lieweke previously served as the Wild’s President and COO. Lightning COO Steve Griggs spent eight years as Vice President of Sales and Service for the Wild. From 2011-12 to 2012-13, Minnesota improved its per-game shot differential by 6.6 shots; the largest single-season increase by any NHL team in the last five seasons. Since 2008-09, only four other teams have improved their shot differential by more than 5.0 shots/ game.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Lightning will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.  
Wild.com
Wild Prospects Report | Wild Hosts Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night | Five Takeaways at Toronto | Wild 5-Hole at Toronto |
WildTV
Yeo - Oct. 16 | Niederreiter - Oct. 16 | Pominville on NHL Live | Becoming Wild: Harding
PONDcast
Coming Soon
Photo Gallery
Wild at TOR - Oct. 15
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 04 '14 TBL 1 at MIN 2 D. Heatley
Oct 17 '13 MIN 1 at TBL 3 S. Stamkos
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Cooke8336+5402
M. Koivu8156+0600
Z. Parise8415-1630
J. Brodin8235+0410
N. Niederreiter8134-1800
J. Spurgeon8134-2410
R. Suter8044-1400
J. Pominville8303-2231
K. Brodziak8123+3400
M. Granlund8033-2200
J. Fontaine8101+4000
M. Dumba5101+0210
T. Mitchell8011+0200
D. Heatley8011-1600
C. Stoner7011+21300
K. Ballard6011+3700
Z. Konopka8000-12100
S. Veilleux5000-1200
M. Scandella5000-2200
C. Coyle2000-2200
N. Prosser1000+0000
J. Zucker1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding63-2-061121.15.946
N. Backstrom30-0-28533.40.849
D. Kuemper10-1-0375.63.571
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Stamkos75510+7212
M. St. Louis74610+7000
T. Purcell7448+6031
V. Filppula7426+4210
A. Killorn7246+2611
S. Salo6145+6400
M. Carle7055+2400
O. Palat7224+3000
T. Johnson7224+1010
R. Malone7134+42600
V. Hedman7033+31100
R. Panik6033-4600
E. Brewer7022+6600
R. Gudas7011+12200
A. Sustr6011+1000
N. Thompson7000+1000
B. Crombeen7000-1700
P. Labrie6000-11100
M. Barberio1000+1000
T. Pyatt1000+0000
K. Aulie1000+0000
B. Connolly1000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
B. Bishop55-0-081401.57.943
A. Lindback20-2-08514.07.843
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