Mon, 24 Jan 2022

Lightning pleased with team effort ahead of visit to Wild

Field Level Media
28 Nov 2021, 08:19 GMT+10

The Tampa Bay Lightning will go for their fourth win in a row, and seventh in their past eight games, when they visit the Minnesota Wild on Sunday afternoon at St. Paul, Minn.

Tampa Bay is coming off a 3-0 shutout win against the Seattle Kraken. That followed victories over the Philadelphia Flyers and Wild during the past week.

The Lightning have recorded at least one point in 15 of 19 games this season.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper credited a balanced attack for his team's success. With top players Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point out with injuries, others have had to step up.

"That's how we're winning," Cooper said. "So we're playing (defense), trying to keep things to the outside, and if things break down, the goalie's there and everybody's chipping in.

"And especially with some of the guys we have out, it's much needed. It's been a really solid team effort."

Minnesota also has thrived this season thanks to a collective approach. The Wild are coming off back-to-back wins over the New Jersey Devils and Winnipeg Jets and have earned at least one point in 14 of 20 games this season.

In their most recent performance, the Wild sprinted to a 7-1 win over the Jets.

"We were certainly ready to go and we played correctly for the entire game," Minnesota head coach Dean Evason said. "We started right and it didn't get away from us like it has in the past. We were very happy with that."

Wild goaltender Cam Talbot praised his teammates for their high-energy effort. Now the team will try to maintain its momentum through the rest of the weekend.

"We played a heck of a team game," Talbot said. "We had a lot of jump from the get-go. We knew that this is a big game, not only the first game back home after Thanksgiving (but with) where these guys are in the standings. They are right behind us, and this was a chance for a little separation."

Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) this season. Mats Zuccarello is next on the scoring list with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists).

For Tampa Bay, Steven Stamkos ranks first with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists). Victor Hedman is next with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists), and Alex Killorn is close behind with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists).

Both teams have had strong goaltending, which has been a key part of their success.

Talbot is 11-5-0 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average for the Wild.

Tampa Bay is anchored in net by Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is 10-3-3 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.09 GAA.

Vasilevskiy notched his 200th career win in his last game.

"Big achievement. I'm proud of it," Vasilevskiy said. "Obviously, I want to thank my teammates for that because I can't win on my own. It's great teamwork."

Minnesota is 6-2-0 at home. Tampa Bay is 5-1-1 on the road.

--Field Level Media

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