By: Kate Butler | KFAN.com
Coming off of a four-game road trip, in which they went 1-1-2, and an OT loss in Calgary, the Wild finally returned home to St. Paul tonight to host Tampa Bay.
“It was a long road trip for us, we don’t mind that but it’s always nice to be home playing in front of these fans. We’re just looking to get a couple wins before the break here,” Charlie Coyle said before the game.
Looking to win both games before the Olympic break, the Wild are well on their way after tonight’s 2-1 win over the Lightning. Tonight marked the 30th win of the season and fourth in-a-row at home for Minnesota.
Kuemper got his 11th consecutive start in the cage for Minnesota tonight. Darcy made 34-saves and got lucky with a crossbar here and there, but it was a successful night for the rookie goalie.
Minnesota lit the lamp first tonight over the Lightning late in the first period. Nino Nieterriter snapped his 12-game drought with the first goal of the game, which happened to be on a power play. The goal came with 3:56 remaining to play in the opening period. Minnesota was outshot 11-8 this period but did not appear to be out-matched.
Both teams came out continuing to battle hard in the second period. The Lightning saw Tyler Johnson get sent to the box for hooking, and B.J. Crombeen and Jason Zucker were sent away both for roughing. Minnesota outshot Tampa Bay 14-11 this period but neither team was able to change the 1-0 score.
The final period of regulation opened with a beautiful cross-ice pass from Spurgeon, who has missed the last 14 games due to injury, to Heatley. Heatley snapped a wrister in to widen the 2-0 gap over the Lightning just 34 seconds into the period. Minnesota seemed to have a strangle-hold on the game until 13:53 into the period when Valtteri Flippula tipped in Tampa Bay’s first goal. A truly frantic final three minutes of play ensued, but the Wild were able to hang on for the W.
As previously stated, Spurgeon returned to the ice after missing 14 games due to a lower body injury, and played an instrumental part in both goals scored tonight. He told Tom Reid after the game, “It was fun to get back out there with the team and get back into that game atmosphere….it felt great.”
The Wild will be at home on Thursday to take on the Nashville Predators for their last game before the Olympic break. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and you can hear all the action on FM 100.3 KFAN and iHeartRadio.com.