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Minnesota at Tampa Bay

Wild snap four-game skid, spoil G Smith's debut with Lightning

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

TAMPA, Fla. -- The struggling Minnesota Wild sure needed a victory, and they knew getting one wouldn't be easy against the revamped Tampa Bay Lightning.

Todd Fedoruk, Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston each scored goals as the Wild snapped a four-game losing streak by edging the Lightning 3-2 on Wednesday night.

"We lost a lot of confidence the last couple of games, but that was a huge game for us and obviously a huge win," Demitra said.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard had two assists, and Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves for the Wild.

Michel Ouellet and Jeff Halpern scored for the Lightning, who are last in the Eastern Conference and have lost five straight.

"I think both teams wanted to turn the ship around," Backstrom said. "I think this is the last chance to turn the ship around if you want to be in the run for a playoff spot. I think it was a great hockey game, and we're real happy to get the two points."

Bouchard put the Wild ahead 1-0 on a flukey power-play goal at 3:46 of the second. His pass from the left wing boards was redirected into the net by Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger.

Demitra made it 2-0 when he was left alone in the low right circle at 4:56.

Mike Smith, who made his Lightning debut after being obtained from Dallas on Tuesday, stopped Marian Gaborik on a short-handed breakaway moments after Minnesota took its two-goal lead. He also kept Gaborik from scoring later in the period on another breakaway attempt.

"Probably one of the harder games I've ever played mentally," said Smith, who made 24 saves. "Everything that has gone on the last couple days. Fighting the nerves a little bit. For the most part, it felt pretty good. Disappointed in the outcome."

Ouellet pulled the Lightning within 2-1 during a power play with 7:38 left in the second. Backstrom made an in-close save on Andre Roy to preserve the one-goal advantage four minutes later.

"I'm really happy with his performance tonight because he made great saves, especially all the power plays they had," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They had great scoring chances. He was on the top of his game."

The Lightning went 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Minnesota converted both of its power-play opportunities.

Rolston extended the Minnesota lead to 3-1 with a rebound power-play goal at 1:53 of the third. Kurtis Foster's shot missed the net, but hit the end boards and bounced back in front of the net.

Halpern, also acquired in Tuesday's trade with the Stars, cut the Lightning's deficit to 3-2 with 10:44 left in the third.

Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella was pleased with the play of the newcomers -- but not so much with the holdovers.

"I have no problems with the guys that were traded for," Tortorella said. "How many breakaways did our top two defensemen give up?"

After that, Tortorella ended a brief postgame news conference.

Notes

  • The scoring change on the Wild's first goal wasn't announced to the media until an hour after the game's conclusion.
  • Lightning D Filip Kuba didn't play due to a right knee injury. He is day-to-day.
  • Wild RW Mark Parrish missed his second straight game due to the flu.
  • Tampa Bay recalled D Alexandre Picard from Norfolk (AHL).
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Goalie Mike Smith (right) has a rough debut with the Lightning, allowing three goals in the loss.  (AP)
Goalie Mike Smith (right) has a rough debut with the Lightning, allowing three goals in the loss. (AP)

Scoreboard
Minnesota  (35-24-5) «0213
Tampa Bay (25-31-7)0112
Three Stars
J. Halpern
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
P. Bouchard
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
N. Backstrom
MIN


Saves: 31
Save Pct.: .939
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
03:46Power Play - Pierre-Marc Bouchard (13), Tip-In, Unassisted.
04:56Pavol Demitra (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mikko Koivu
12:22Power Play - Michel Ouellet (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Paul Ranger, Jeff Halpern
3RD PERIOD
01:53Power Play - Brian Rolston (24), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kurtis Foster, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
09:16Jeff Halpern (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mathieu Darche
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
19:00Gaborik, 2 min, High-Sticking
19:00Gaborik, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
03:32O'Brien, 2 min, Roughing
08:04Veilleux, 2 min, Tripping
10:32Backstrom, 2 min, Tripping
18:56Skoula, 2 min, Tripping
19:57Boyle, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
14:00Sheppard, 2 min, Tripping
19:00Schultz, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
 123T
Minnesota6111027
Tampa Bay915933
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Niklas Backstrom60:00312
Mike Smith58:35243
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Minnesota2-for-3
Tampa Bay1-for-2
Game Information
Attendance - 17211
Referees - Frederick L'Ecuyer, Dan Marouelli
Linesmen - Jonny Murray, Jay Sharrers
 
Other Games
Tor 4 Final
Fla 3
Pho 0 Final
Chi 1
SJ 4 Final
Colu 2
Colo 3 Final
Van 2
Nash 4 Final
Buf 8