Tampa Bay at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 25, 2014
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Drouin joined forces Friday night to lead Tampa Bay to victory - and perhaps provide a glimpse into what Lightning fans can expect for years to come. But a repeat performance Saturday could prove challenging as the Lightning wrap up a five-game Western Conference road trip with a date against the Minnesota Wild. Tampa Bay is 3-1-0 on the trek, but will have its hands full against a Wild team that has allowed just four goals in five games.
Central to Minnesota's success is goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who has taken the starting job with the Wild and emerged as the top netminder in the NHL through the opening two weeks of the season. Kuemper recorded his third shutout in four starts last time out, turning aside 29 shots en route to a 2-0 triumph over the visiting Arizona Coyotes. He'll look to stonewall Stamkos and Drouin, who both had goals in the Lightning's 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, SUN (Tampa Bay), FSN (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (5-2-1): Drouin showed off some of the promise that prompted the Lightning to make him the third overall pick in the 2013 draft. He worked a brilliant give-and-go with Stamkos to set up the veteran sniper's first-period goal, then gathered a pass at the edge of the right circle and whipped a wrist shot past Winnipeg netminder Ondrej Pavelec for his first career NHL goal. Stamkos has faced Minnesota just seven times in his career, scoring three goals and adding three assists.
ABOUT THE WILD (3-2-0): Minnesota's only complaint during its strong start to the season? Too much time off early in the campaign; the Wild have already had two lengthy breaks, and are now in the midst of a grueling stretch that will see them play six games in nine nights. "It'll be nice here to play more games, get into a little bit more of a rhythm," forward Jason Pominville told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "A lot of time off is fun to rest the body, but we want to play. Practice is fun, but not that fun."
1. The teams split a pair of meetings in 2013-14, with the home team prevailing both times.
2. The Lightning have won just one of their last six games against Central Division foes.
3. The Wild have outshot their opponent in all five games but are still looking for their first power-play goal (0-for-19).
PREDICTION: Wild 2, Lightning 1
Stats and Records