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Wild Look to Get Back to Winning Ways Against Lightning

(Sports Network) - After a superb first month of the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have fallen on hard times in November. The Bolts will try for just their second win this month when they host the Minnesota Wild today at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Lightning were 7-2-1 in October, but have just one victory in six games (1-4-1) this month. That one victory came in a 4-0 triumph over visiting Toronto on Tuesday, but the Lightning followed that up win with consecutive road losses on Thursday and Friday.

Tampa was dealt a 6-3 loss in Washington on Thursday and then dropped a 5-1 decision the next night in Pittsburgh. Pascal Dupuis, Sidney Crosby, and Maxime Talbot each registered a goal and an assist to lead the Penguins to the lopsided win at CONSOL Energy Center.

Steven Stamkos scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who managed just 16 shots on net and went 1-for-8 on the power play. Mike Smith turned aside 15- of-20 shots in the losing effort.

"Both teams didn't get too many shots," Stamkos said. "They just capitalized on their chances."

Friday's game was the first for Tampa without captain Vincent Lecavalier, who sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right hand in the loss to the Capitals. Lecavalier, who has three goals and six assists this season, is expected to miss the next three-to-four weeks of action.

Lightning forward Steve Downie has missed the last three games with a back injury, but is questionable for today's contest. Downie has two goals and six assists this season.

Tampa is 4-1-1 as the host this season and has won its last two games at the Forum. The Bolts will follow today's home test with a three-game road trip.

The Wild had won three straight to begin November, but enter tonight trying to shake a two-game skid. Minnesota was pounded, 5-1, in Atlanta on Thursday and then dropped a 2-1 decision the following night at Florida. Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli scored to back 22 saves from Tomas Vokoun in the Panthers' 2-1 win over Minnesota.

Cal Clutterbuck netted the only goal for the Wild, while Jose Theodore stopped 25-of-27 shots in defeat.

"I just want to keep my team in the game and not give up that bad goal," said Theodore. "When they went up by two goals I just wanted to make sure they didn't get that third goal and give our team a chance."

Niklas Backstrom is expected to be back in net for the Wild this evening. He is 3-0-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average in four career starts against Tampa.

Minnesota is 2-3-1 as the visiting team this season and is completing a four- game road trip today. The Wild are traveling without forwards Guillaume Latendresse and Chuck Kobasew and defenseman Marek Zidlicky. All three players are currently sidelined with groin injuries.

Tampa Bay notched a shootout victory over a visiting Wild club in last year's only meeting. That victory ended a three-game winning streak in the series for Minnesota, which is 3-2-0 with a tie in six all-time trips to Tampa.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.