TAMPA, Fla. – The final was a 3-0 loss for the Wild, but that didn’t reflect how goalie Alex Stalock played.
In his last appearance in Tampa, Dec.23, 2017, Stalock was steady – making 28 saves and not giving up any goals to the Lightning until the third period. Tampa eluded him only twice before tacking on an empty-net goal.
Coach Bruce Boudreau remembered that performance and will call on Stalock again at Amalie Arena Thursday when the Wild continues its three-game road trip against the Lightning.
“These are the ones that you want to play in as a competitor,” Stalock said. “You play against the best, it’s a good challenge.”
Subbing Stalock in for Kaapo Kahkonen, who had 44 saves Tuesday in the 4-2 win over the Panthers, isn’t the only lineup change the Wild will make as it tries to extend its season-long point streak to 11 games. The team is also riding a four-game win streak.
Nick Seeler will draw in on defense after Jared Spurgeon was sent home with a hand injury, an ailment that will sideline him for approximately two weeks. And winger Ryan Donato could also play on the fourth line.
Captain Mikko Koivu is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury and although Boudreau said he wouldn’t know Koivu’s status until after the team’s optional morning skate, Koivu didn’t skate as long as some of his other teammates.
The Wild did make a roster move Thursday morning, recalling defenseman Brennan Menell from Iowa of the American Hockey League.
Menell, who’s from Woodbury, won’t play Thursday, but he could make his NHL debut at some point.
In 23 games with Iowa, Menell has two goals and 19 points. He’s a right shot.
“The word was that he was the one playing the best,” Boudreau said. “We all thought it would be [Louie] Belpedio at this point, but Menell is leading the league in assists for defensemen (17) so he was the guy they chose.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Luke Kunin-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Donato-Victor Rask-Marcus Foligno
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Carson Soucy
Nick Seeler-Brad Hunt
7-3-1: Record for the Wild in its last 11 matchups vs. the Lightning.
17: Points for the Wild since. Nov.14.
5: Goals for winger Jason Zucker in the last eight games.
6: Points for winger Kevin Fiala in his past six outings.
98: Career assists for defenseman Jonas Brodin.
About the Lightning:
Tampa Bay snapped a three-game slide its last time out, getting by Nashville 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday. On home ice, the Lightning is 6-4-1. Its power play at Amalie Arena is operating at a 36.4 percent efficiency, which is tops in the NHL. Winger Nikita Kucherov is in the midst of a season-long six-game point streak – a span in which he has 12 points. His 30 points overall lead Tampa Bay.