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Wild hope to cure ailments at home against Lightning

Tampa Bay (6-8-7) at Minnesota (12-7-1), 2:00 pm EST

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Xcel Energy Center served as

a place of comfort for the Minnesota Wild early in the season.

The same cannot be said during the team's current slide there.

After beginning 5-0-1 at home, the Wild hope to get back to

their winning ways when they host the struggling Tampa Bay

Lightning on Friday.

Beginning its current five-game homestand, Minnesota had dropped

consecutive home games in regulation for the first time since

November 21-23, 2007. However, the Wild bounced back with a 4-2

victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday.

Two days later, the results were different as Eric Belanger,

Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette all scored and helped the Wild to

a two-goal advantage. However, the Wild fizzled late in a 4-3

loss to the Dallas Stars.

The defeat marked Minnesota's first loss when leading after two

periods this season (7-1-1) and was just the third time this

season Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has given up more than

three goals in a start.

The Wild have scored three power-play goals in their past two

games after scoring just one time on the man advantage in the

previous four.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has struggled to find ways to win at home

and on the road.

Ryan Malone and veteran Mark Recchi each scored Wednesday for

the Lightning, who have dropped seven of their last eight

contests after a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

Mike Smith finished with 33 saves and captain Vincent Lecavalier

had an assist, extending his points streak to five games.

The Lightning have won just once in the six games since firing

coach Barry Melrose, but have gotten at least a point in four of

those contests.

Rookie Steven Stamkos, taken first overall in June's draft, has

gone 12 games since scoring his only two goals this season in a

game against Buffalo on October 30.


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