NHL Game Recap: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning | 01/18/2024

Creator: Kim Klement Neitzel | Credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

After an important home win on Monday night, the Minnesota Wild lost 7-3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road. While the first two periods remained close, the Lightning ran away with it in the third period. 

Quick Recap

Final Score: 7-3 Tampa Bay

PIMS: 18 minutes combined

Shots on goal: 38-33 Tampa Bay

Notable Moments: Gustavsson Tries Again, Bogo and Maroon Return, Battle Hockey, Possible Injury

Vibes Report: Was 8/10 through the first two periods but dropped to a 6/10 during the third

The Wild started the scoring five minutes into the first period with a goal by Joel Eriksson Ek. Unlike his normal goals from close by the net, this one was from the top of the circle. While scoring first is normally a good sign for the Wild, the Lightning responded just 55 seconds later with a goal by Victor Hedman. The Wild managed to keep good pressure with extended offensive zone time. 

With just over two minutes left in the period, Brock Faber ended up with two minor penalties after Brandon Hagel sold a cross-check to the back by Faber and started a scrum. Nicholas Paul was also given a minor for roughing, canceling out Faber’s roughing minor and cutting the Lightning’s power play to two minutes instead of four.

While Connor Dewar managed his signature breakaway for a short-handed goal attempt, he was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy. The first period ended with a 1-1 tie.

The Lightning started the second period with 16 seconds left on their power play. At the same second that the power play ended, Anthony Cirelli scored. After a bit of back and forth, the goal was determined to be a power play goal. 

Just around three minutes later, Waltteri Merela scored his first goal in the NHL, putting Tampa Bay up 3-1. Minnesota’s Head Coach John Hynes elected to take his timeout at that moment to get the team to refocus their energy.

Whatever Hynes said worked because Marco Rossi scored shortly after to put the Wild within one point of the Lightning. Kirill Kaprizov saucered a pass from inside the blue line to Jake Middleton as he streaked up the other side. Rossi had already managed to station himself in front of Vasilevskiy, who misjudged and slid over to block Middleton’s shot. Instead, Middleton passed it to Rossi, who easily popped it into the wide-open net.

The Lightning responded with a goal by Brayden Point two minutes later. The Wild were starting to look more and more inconsistent. The second period was wrapping up, and it looked like the Wild would be going into the last period down by two points.

With only 15 seconds left on the clock, Middleton scored his sixth goal of the season. The announcers were quick to point out how unusual it was for Middleton to score, but this has been a banner year for him offensively, with new career-high totals in goals and points. As the Wild entered the zone, the Lightning players were more focused on chasing down known goal-scorers Mats Zuccarello, Rossi, and Kaprizov, leaving Middleton unattended in front of the net. Middleton’s goal was his third point of the night. The second period ended with the Wild still within one at 4-3.

The third period is where things got away from the Wild. As the second period ended, Marcus Johansson was called for a high-sticking penalty. Once again, this penalty was a great sell by a Lightning player, as Darren Raddysh put his all into embellishing it. During the penalty play that started the third period, Steven Stamkos scored just over a minute into the period on a shot that unfortunately bounced off of Faber’s arm on the way in.

Minnesota finally got a chance at their own power play when Tyler Motte was called for hooking. Even though Minnesota’s power play looked better than they have been recently, the Wild were unable to capitalize on their man advantage and score.

The Wild took another penalty, allowing the league’s top power play to have another try. The Lightning took advantage of it, and Michael Eyssimont scored to put the score at 6-3. 

Minnesota got one more chance with a man advantage when Zuccarello was cross-checked by Calvin de Haan. Unfortunately, Zuccarello was also called for roughing in the scrum that followed along with another two-minute minor for de Haan. As an important part of the Minnesota power play, Zuccarello could only watch from the box while the Wild failed to score.

Cirelli managed to score one more to put Tampa Bay at a final score of 7-3. 

Vibes Recap

The beginning of the game had so much sustained pressure by the Wild that the vibes were great. After helping Marc-Andre Fleury break another NHL record on Monday night with a win over the New York Islanders, the hard work spilled over into their first road game of the weekend. Both Zach Bogosian and Pat Maroon were honored with tribute videos as both left Tampa Bay this year. Maroon’s video was especially touching, lasting a full 90 seconds.

Other things that caused good vibes: Faber was feisty after he was called for cross-checking, throwing a few good punches after having his helmet ripped off. As a baby-faced rookie who hardly ever takes penalties, he looked noticeably confused while in the box as it is an unfamiliar place for the defenseman. 

Gustavsson looked good for most of the game and made some highlight reel saves, robbing Nikita Kucherov a few times. Any time Middleton scores, it makes for good vibes. The lovable defenseman, who just made another Tarps Off commercial for Duke Cannon, isn’t known for being offensively minded (which the announcers were quick to point out).

Unfortunately, things went off the rails in the third period, and the vibes went down as Minnesota fans watched an important game slip through the Wild’s fingers. Add to that another injury (Freddy Gaudreau only played 9 minutes last night and left with an upper-body injury), and the vibes score had to come down a bit.

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibes, check out Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Summer Hockey and Why Minnesota Is the State of Hockey Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki talks about the boring part of summer in the hockey world, girl's hockey in Inside Out 2, and why Minnesota is known as the State of Hockey.Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR  
  1. Summer Hockey and Why Minnesota Is the State of Hockey
  2. PWHL Minnesota is a Mess. Can It Be Saved?
  3. Free Agency and Why Jake Middleton Reminds Me of Binky Barnes
  4. Minnesota Wild Draft Day Overview
  5. The Wild's Goalie Problem, Game 7, and Free Agency Prep

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