Game 56 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Minnesota Wild

The Bolts are set to pay a visit to the Wild before returning home for a a two-game home stint ahead of the looming league shutdown for the Winter Olympics. Tonight will be the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season.

Tampa Bay, which took the initial tilt in the early stages of the season, secured a well-earned but nerve-wracking overtime win over Montreal on Saturday. After coming into the match having lost the previous two contests, the win marked another instance where the Bolts found a way to nip a fledgling losing streak in the bud this season. There have been some hiccups, misadventures and squandered opportunities along the way but if and when the Lightning qualifies for postseason play, one will be able to look back and pinpoint the team’s ability, even while hobbled with key injuries that tested the organization’s depth and fortitude, to avoid extended downturns as integral to its success.

Minnesota, meanwhile, managed to overcome a two-goal deficit and force overtime — before ultimately losing in the extra session — with, in a classic display of score effects, a frantic third period effort against a Calgary squad content to sit back and try and ride out the storm. The Wild has been, on the balance, rather strong at home where it boasts a 19-7-2 record although the Bolts, at 16-12-2, have been proven fairly decent on the road aside from the grisly showings on the West Coast trip that followed soon after Steven Stamkos’ injury.

Earlier this season, Minnesota was keeping some heady company in the Central Division and Western Conference while keeping close to pace with the usual juggernauts as well as the scorching-hot Avalanche. The Wild put up some very fetching possession numbers coming out of the gate that seemed to validate the organization’s conscientious tactical shift. An extended period of cooling off, though, has the franchise, which qualified for the playoffs by the slimmest of margins last season, now currently clinging to the West’s first wild card slot with several challengers either nipping at the heels or a hot streak away from being so.

min-tb-game-56
MIN’s Cumulative Fenwick % (Share of Unblocked Shot Attempts) via Extra Skater

It didn’t take long for analysts to note the troubling trend and there’s been simmering speculation over head coach Mike Yeo’s job security as the slide has — notable injuries (to goaltender Josh Harding and forwards Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise) acknowledged — continued. Whatever is bound to happen, there is probably, at present, no shortage of anxious supporters throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes given the Wild’s difficulties closing out last season and the infamous second-half collapse of yesteryear.

SEASON SERIES

[table “77” not found /]

NOTES

STANDINGS

LIGHTNING
[table “85” not found /]
WILD
[table “85” not found /]

ACTIVE ROSTERS

LIGHTNING WILD
[table “74” not found /]
[table “74” not found /]


STATPACK

LIGHTNING

TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]
PLAYER SCORING
[table “76” not found /]

RATES

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]

PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


WILD

TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]
PLAYER SCORING
[table “76” not found /]

RATES


TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]

PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


Team stats cited from Extra Skater

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