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Tampa Looks to Make Playoff Dreams Become A Reality as They Face the Wild

By: Kyle Pereira

The 51-12-4 Tampa Bay Lightning are set to defend home ice against the 32-27-8 Minnesota Wild tonight at 7:30pm eastern time. The Lightning have a chance to clinch with a win and a loss by either Montreal or Columbus. Both teams have been playing well recently, and it will make for a very good tilt.

 

Tampa Bay’s Outlook:

The Lightning have won 12 of it’s last 13 games, and are well on their way to one of the greatest seasons in NHL history, both for individual players and the team as a whole. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov leads the league in points by a large margin with 108, and only needs one more to beat the franchise record set by Vincent Lecavalier in 06-07. Yanni Gourde stated ahead of this game, “It’s basically a playoff game because they are battling to get in the playoffs and we want to improve and get better. This game provides that challenge.”

 

Tampa Bay Lines:

Offense

Palat-Stamkos-Gourde

Johnson-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Miller

Erne-Paquette-Joseph

Defense

Hedman-Stralman

McDonagh-Cernak

Coburn-Sergachev

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

Domingue

 

Minnesota’s Outlook:

The Wild are barely in the playoff picture, as the west has been a complete mess this season in terms of who the wild card teams will be. However, they are on a 7 game point streak (5-0-2), and are fighting harder and harder each night knowing they could miss out if they don’t. Beating the number one team is just a plus for them. During the team’s 7 game point streak, Wild forward Eric Staal has registered 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists). Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau praised the Lightning in pregame interviews, stating, “I think [the Lightning] will be a great test. They don’t have any weaknesses.”

 

Minnesota Lines:

Offense

Donato-Staal-Zucker

Parise-Kunin-Fiala

Greenway-Eriksson Ek-Aberg

Foligno-Fehr-Brown

Defense

Suter-Spurgeon

Brodin-Hunt

Pateryn-Seeler

Goalies

Dubnyk

Stalock

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