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Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-1 to Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Coach Guy Boucher already had run through a list of the Lightning's missed scoring opportunities Monday night, when someone brought up Steven Stamkos' third-period chance in front of the net.

A cross-ice pass from Teddy Purcell, Stamkos driving forward with speed and then a left-toe save by Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

"I forgot about that one," Boucher said, looking skyward in frustration.

It was that kind of game for the Lightning, which lost 3-1 at the Xcel Energy Center.

Tampa Bay (11-10-2) played with good pace and outshot Minnesota 33-24. It took 77 shots overall to Minnesota's 46, prompting Boucher to say, "We outplayed those guys."

But the Wild, tied with the Blackhawks atop the Western Conference, was better at converting its chances and scored twice in the second period — once shorthanded and both off defensive blunders — to overcome a 1-0 deficit built on Stamkos' 15th goal of the season.

As for the Lightning, "I'm going to look at the video," Boucher said, "and say, 'How could we have scored only one goal?' "

Start with this: the Lightning was 0-for-2 on a power play that is 5-for-45 on the road. It also had 23 shots blocked, and 21 others missed the net.

Boucher said the numbers showed a "shooting mentality" and good zone time. But defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said they also indicated the Lightning did not do enough to get shots past a committed Wild defense.

Vinny Lecavalier hit a post and the puck ricocheted off Backstrom's back and fell into the crease. Ryan Shannon failed on a second-period breakaway as Backstrom stopped his forehand wrist shot.

And Stamkos was stopped by Backstrom's toe 8:41 into the third with the score 2-1.

"I had a good chance," Stamkos said. "That was a great play by (Purcell), a good save by the goalie."

Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon also played well. But he had little chance on Cal Clutterbuck's shorthanded goal that tied the score 1-1 7:39 into the second period on a two-on-none that developed after defenseman Eric Brewer, skating from behind his net, lost control of the puck.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard's winner with 2:54 left in the second came on a short-side one-timer after Bouchard outfought Brett Connolly for the puck and defenseman Matt Gilroy was out of position.

If only the Lightning was as opportunistic.

"We deserved this game," Boucher said. "We just didn't bury our chances."

Wild 0 2 1 3
Lightning 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesPyatt, TB (tripping), 14:29.

Second Period1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 15, 5:53. 2, Minnesota, Clutterbuck 7 (Koivu), 7:39 (sh). 3, Minnesota, Bouchard 3 (N.Johnson), 17:06. PenaltiesCullen, Min (slashing), 6:34; Moore, TB (hooking), 13:43.

Third Period4, Minnesota, Koivu 4 (Spurgeon, Clutterbuck), 19:36 (en). PenaltiesHeatley, Min (tripping), :43. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 11-9-13—33. Minnesota 7-9-8—24. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 2; Minnesota 0 of 2. GoaliesTampa Bay, Garon 5-4-1 (23 shots-21 saves). Minnesota, Backstrom 8-5-2 (33-32). A16,628 (18,064). T2:16. Referees—Stephane Auger, Paul Devorski. LinesmenPierre Champoux, Mike Cvik.

Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-1 to Minnesota Wild 11/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:56am]
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