Born to be Wild: Previewing the Lightning vs Wild Matchup

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning play in their second game in two days against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday evening.  After a tough loss against the New Jersey Devils, where the Lightning gave up 4 straight goals to lose the game 5-3, they look to redeem themselves against Kirill Kaprizov and his squad.

The Minnesota Wild currently sit in first place in the central division, sitting on a comfortable 11-6-0 record. They’ve played a very calm game, but when needed, can be very aggressive in both zones. This Wild team is one of the best the franchise has ever had, and is a team the Lightning need to watch out for.

Top Players:

We’ll start with the Lightning. Instead of doing points, as Stamkos, Killorn, and Hedman are still the top three players in terms of points, it will solely be based on team and individual performance in the last couple games.

Pat Maroon: This may be a weird name to see, but Pat Maroon hasn’t been that bad lately. With three goals on the season, as well as being one of the biggest locker room leaders, Pat Maroon has helped the Lightning on any way possible. He pitched in with a power play goal on Saturday.

Anthony Cirelli: Even after taking a puck to the face, Cirelli came back with a full face shield and played amazing again Saturday afternoon. He is once again showing why he’s a contender for the Selke Trophy.

Steven Stamkos: Great shot, great play, great leadership, Stamkos can do it all. With over a point per game this season, the Lightning captain should not be a player to underestimate despite recent injury plagued seasons.

The offense has been buzzing lately, and it’s tough to really say much bad about them. If there was one thing to say, it would be that the bottom 6 needs to finish their chances. Other than that, the offense has been arguably the best offense in the league, even without Nikita Kucherov in the lineup.

The defense still needs some work, but it is much better than what it was to start the season. Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman make a great pairing on the first unit, and have carried this defense when the others have failed to do what was expected. The second and third pairings have been in flux recently as a result of injuries and different players slotting into the lineup.

Now the Minnesota Wild, who have played very well on both sides of the ice. This time, it will be based on solely on points.

Kirill Kaprizov: 5G 12A 17P
Ryan Hartman: 9G 4A 13P
Mats Zuccarello: 4G 9A 13P

The offense has been great for the Wild, but has had its issues. Their defense overall has been pretty good and has helped them very well. While those have been good, goaltending has had some issues. Despite getting average goaltending, the Wild still have a solid record to show for it.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will most likely have a break after Saturday’s performance, so Brian Elliott (3.08 GAA, .880 SV%) will possibly be taking the net. While struggling to get action, he should be playing more soon. Kaapo Kahkonen (3.08 GAA, .882 SV%) will most likely take the net on Sunday night for the Wild.

Minnesota will also be playing the second game of a back to back after falling 5-4 last night against the Florida Panthers.


Score: 3-2 SO Wild
Shots: 31 Lightning/ 30 Wild

Best Performance: Steven Stamkos (3G, 0A, 3P)
Overall Performance: B-


The Lightning will most likely lose in OT with Elliott in net. While the defense is solid for the Lightning, the Wild’s offense will most likely be able to get past Elliott more times than they would if Vasilevskiy was in net.

Next. 5 Takeaways from TB’s 5-3 loss to New Jersey. dark