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The Minnesota Wild are 5-5-0 in their last ten games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have won five of their last seven games.
The Wild beat the Lightning 5-1 in their first meeting.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Tampa Bay Lightning
25-16-4 (3rd in Central Division)
29-15-1 (3rd in Atlantic Division)
Kirill Kaprizov (56)
Nikita Kucherov (66)
Kirill Kaprizov (26)
Brayden Point (27)
Kirill Kaprizov (30)
Nikita Kucherov (48)
Jared Spurgeon (18)
Ian Cole (12)
Kirill Kaprizov (3.8)
Shots (Per Game)
Nikita Kucherov (3.53)
The Minnesota Wild will travel south to face the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time this season. The Wild obliterated the Lightning 5-1 the first time they met. Minnesota was up 3-0 in the second period, and the Lightning could not keep up with them.
The Wild are in third place in the Central Division with 54 points. However, if they do not start winning games with more frequency, they could soon be out of the Playoff picture. On the other side, the Lightning are in third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points. They have a stronger hold of their position than the Wild, but a win would help them cement it.
The Wild have a few goal-scorers but only average 3.11 per game. That puts them right by the league average. That amount may seem okay to some, but it will not be enough in the Playoffs. Defensively, the Wild are a little better and allow less than 2.9 goals a game. With that being said, Minnesota has given up ten goals over their previous two games.
The Wild have two studs in Kirill Kaprizov and Matz Zuccarello. Kaprizov is a top-ten player, but Zuccarello is also dangerous. These two have combined for 101 points and 44 goals in 45 games this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson have begun to platoon in the net for the Wild. Fleury began the season as the starter, but Gustavsson has outperformed him all season long and may take over his #1 spot.
The Lightning have an offensively gifted squad and average over 3.6 goals a game. They have two 20+ goal-scorers and two players with 18 goals each. Defensively, they are not nearly as good, but they still have some competent defensemen. Tampa occasionally slips up and gives up five or more goals, but overall, they allow less than three a game. In addition to the Lightning’s defense, they have a consistent netminder in Andrei Vasilevskily. If Vasilevskiy is healthy, the Lightning are in good shape.
The Lightning have three players (Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point) with at least 49 points. These three are largely responsible for Tampa’s success this season and will continue to play huge roles for the Lightning.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has given up eight goals over his previous two games but is having a solid season overall. His 20 wins tied for the fifth-most in the league, and his 2.55 goals against average is the 11th-lowest in the NHL.
The Lightning are excellent at home and come into this game with a 17-4-1 record in Tampa. In addition, they have a better offense that has scored 19 goals in their previous five games. Bet on Tampa to squeak out this victory.
The Wild are the underdogs but can surprise the Lightning if they play tough defense and score first.
The Wild are the worse offensive team, so they need their defense to step up and give them a chance. If the Minnesota defensemen play competent hockey and slow down the Lightning, the Wild can leave Tampa with a victory.
The Wild are coming off two straight losses. This is not so concerning, but if they lose a few more in a row, they will be on a significant losing streak. Minnesota needs to flip the script this game and score first. If they do, they will have a solid chance of winning.
The Lightning are the favorites but will only win if they score a power play goal and involve Nikita Kucherov.
The Lightning have an excellent power-play unit. They convert 27.1% of their opportunities (the second-best percentage in the NHL). This unit must get on the ice and score at least one goal this game. They are responsible for a little over 25% of their overall goals, so it is safe to say that the Lightning perform well with a man advantage.
Nikita Kucherov has become Lightning’s most productive player. He does not lead the team in goals but leads the team in assists (48) and points (66). Good things happen when the puck is in Kucherov’s hands, which is why his teammates must pass to him.
The Wild lost their previous game, but Joel Eriksson Ek showed some flashes of brilliance. Eriksson Ek finished with one goal and one assist and earned himself the third star of the game.
Eriksson Ek must take the momentum from the last game and have himself another big night in this game.
Steven Stamkos has been in the NHL for well over ten years and is still performing at an incredibly high level. Stamkos has 23 goals and 31 assists, but more importantly, has five goals in his previous three games.
Stamkos must continue shooting the puck. If he does, at least one of his shots will find the back of the net.
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What - Minnesota Wild vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Where - Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
When - Tuesday, January 24, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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