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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 4th (All times Eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (32-18-5) at Minnesota Wild (29-21-7), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild will play two straight games at home leading into the Olympic break, beginning with Tuesday night's contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Wild return home following a 1-1-2 road trip. They are just 10-14-5 as the visiting club this season compared to 19-7-2 at home.

Minnesota got goals from Dany Heatley and Keith Ballard inside of 10 minutes left in the third period on Saturday versus Calgary to force overtime before falling 4-3 to the Flames.

Matt Cooke scored shorthanded and Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves in his 10th start in a row. He gave up the winner 2:25 into overtime on a rebound.

"It's a big point, no question, but starts have cost us the last two games," Heatley said. "We've got to take the points right now, but the start of this trip was a tough trip, a lot of travel, some good teams. We'll take four but we would've liked six, I think."

With 65 points, the Wild are two points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks for seventh place in the Western Conference, but now trail third-place Colorado by 12 points in the Central Division.

Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise both had assists in Saturday's loss to keep up their hot stretches. Granlund has two goals and six helpers over a five-game point streak, while Parise has three goals and eight points in his last three games.

Kuemper will make the start again tonight and has never faced the Lightning.

Tampa Bay will try to close out a four-game road trip even after besting the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Nate Thompson scored twice, including the winner with 23.1 seconds left on the clock.

Victor Hedman collected a carom off the end boards and dished to the slot for Thompson, who slid the puck past Carey Price's left pad and inside the right post.

"The first one I got was a lucky bounce and the other one was a great play by Hedman. I shot it as hard as I could and it went in," said Thompson.

Hedman had two assists, giving him 10 points in his past five games, while Ben Bishop made 28 saves in the win. He was able to make the start despite exiting Thursday's game early after getting hit on the head by the skate of teammate Nikita Kucherov.

The Lightning had dropped the first two stops of their road trip, but have won 10 of their last 14 as the guest. That has helped them stay within four points of first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.

Bishop is likely to start tonight and made 25 saves in a 3-1 home win over the Wild on Oct. 17. That was his first ever meeting with the club.

Tampa Bay has lost five of its past seven in Minnesota.

The Lightning have been without star center Steven Stamkos since he suffered a broken leg on Nov. 11, but the Olympic hopeful practiced on Monday and is hopeful to return by week's end.

Minnesota, meanwhile, could have defenseman Jared Spurgeon back in the lineup tonight for the first time in 15 games. He has been out with a lower-body ailment.

02/04 10:52:32 ET

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CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
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CHA 93
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POR 94
Final
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3rd
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SHSU 53
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YOUNG 76
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Final
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Final
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Final
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DREX 61
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CCST 60
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ARKLR 94
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CLMB 54
 
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USB 89
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STLU 56
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SD 72
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CATAWBA 52
 
Final
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Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
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HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
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HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
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Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
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Final
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Final
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Final
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MNTST 28
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MLOWELL 64
 
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UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
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DEL 52
 
Final
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HOOD 51
 
Final
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SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
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NE 65
MAN 51
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
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MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
 
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
Final
CHAR 58
MIAMI 77
 
2nd
GAELS 72
UCI 69
 
2nd
ILLST 62
ODU 44
 
Half
UCLA 42
LBSU 31
 
1st
SEAT 15
MONT 17
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
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NYR 5
MON 0
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ANA 2
ARI 1
2nd
VAN 1
CHI 1
 
Final
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CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
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DET 9
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MIN 21
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PHI 43
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SEA 19
ARI 3
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SDC 27
STL 24
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MIA 36
Final
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4th
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DAL 24