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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00 BRT, January 16, 2020
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota  Attendance: 17,305

Hot Lightning aim to tame frigid Wild

Tampa Bay Lightning at Minnesota Wild

  1. The Wild have won seven straight home games over the Lightning dating back to 2011. That is their longest active home winning streak against any opponent and the Lightning's longest active road losing streak against any opponent (five more than any other streak).
  2. Tampa Bay has won 11 of 12 after a 4-3 shootout victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Lightning have outscored opponents by 24 goals in those 12 games, best goal differential in a 12-game span by any team this season.
  3. Minnesota lost its fourth straight and sixth of seven with a 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh. The Wild have allowed at least four goals in 23 games this season, tied for second most in the NHL behind the Red Wings (28).
  4. Nikita Kucherov scored the game-tying goal with 1:15 remaining against Los Angeles. It was his 22nd goal in the last two minutes of the third period since the start of 2014-15, most in the NHL.
  5. Marcus Foligno has lit the lamp in back-to-back games after doing the same from January 4-5. He has five goals in five games in January after scoring just four goals from October to December (31 games).
  6. Eric Staal's has tallied 74 points in 74 games against the Lightning in his career, third most all-time behind Alex Ovechkin (91) and Jaromir Jagr (83). During Minnesota's current four-game win streak over the Lightning, Staal has two goals, two assists and a plus/minus of +4.

While the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to find ways to win, the losses are piling up for the Minnesota Wild.

The surging Lightning look to hand the Wild a season-high fifth consecutive defeat on Thursday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Two days after its potential season-defining 10-game winning streak ended with a 3-1 loss at New Jersey, Tampa Bay rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday. Alex Killorn scored his team-leading 19th goal, and Nikita Kucherov notched his 18th with 1:15 left in regulation to force overtime.

The Lightning rebounded from a 2-0 first-period hole to improve to 14-3-1 since Dec. 10.

"You (play) 82 games, you're not going to start perfect every single game," coach Jon Cooper told the Lightning's official website. "We've played a lot of hockey. It was a little concerning to be down two the way we came out for the game.

"But, I tend to look at the positive and say I like the way we finished the (first) period (with two goals). ... To get back to even was definitely what we needed. We needed a jump."

The Lightning have gotten that jump of late from Kucherov (five goals, 10 points in nine games) and sizzling goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (1.77 goals-against average, .943 save percentage during nine-game winning streak). While Tampa Bay is 2 of 18 on the power play in 2020, it has also killed 31 of 33 penalties over the last 10 contests.

As the Lightning begin a six-game road stretch, they'll try to snap their 0-3-1 rut versus Minnesota. Killorn scored, and Vasilevskiy managed only 16 saves during Tampa Bay's 5-4 home loss to the Wild on Dec. 5.

Since that victory, however, Minnesota is just 6-9-2 and currently mired in an 0-3-1 slide that includes three consecutive regulation defeats. The Wild were down 4-0 early in the second period on Tuesday during a 7-3 loss at Pittsburgh.

Zach Parise ended a 10-game goal drought with two scores, and Marcus Foligno stayed hot with his fifth goal in five games for Minnesota. However, a lineup-card gaffe by coach Bruce Boudreau had the Wild playing with only five defenseman and facing an uphill climb in trying to end their recent struggles.

"Forget this, and let's get back at it," Boudreau told NHL.com. "This is what we did early on in the year, is we said 'Woe is me' on our mistakes, and then it goes for a big slide. We have to end the slide now, no matter who we're playing."

The Wild, one of the most generous defensive teams in the league allowing 3.37 goals per game, need to improve a penalty kill that has opponents 9 of 26 on the power play over the last six games.

Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk has a 3.73 goals-against average while losing four of his last six starts. However, he has a 1.55 goals-against average in going 4-2-1 versus Tampa Bay. Backup Alex Stalock has a 3.94 goals-against average during a 0-3-1 starting stretch.

Tampa Bay backup Curtis McElhinney, 5-5-2 with a 3.10 goals-against average this season, has won three straight starts against Wild. However, his last came in October 2018 while with Carolina.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 15, 2020

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