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Road gets bumpy

The Tampa Bay Lightning can't blame its first loss of the season on its goaltending.

Wendell Young kept the game close with 33 saves, but the Lightning could muster just one goal by defenseman Doug Crossman on Saturday night and fell to the Minnesota North Stars 2-1 before 14,322 at the Met Center.

The Lightning dropped to 1-1, while the North Stars improved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 at home. Last season, Minnesota went 20-16-4 at the Met Center.

The score could have been a lot worse had it not been for Young. The Lightning were outshot 35-20.

Twelve of Young's saves came in the final period to keep it a one-goal game.

He stopped center Mike Modano with a kick save from point-blank range six minutes into the third period. Then Young, who had left the goal open after making a stop from the left side, dived to the right side to stop a poke-in attempt by Dave Gagner.

Gagner was so frustrated he slammed the end of his stick into the boards.

With 40 seconds left in the game, the Lightning pulled Young off the ice to have a man advantage. But Tampa Bay could only get off one shot.

This was the first of a five-game road trip for the Lightning, which is coming off a 7-3 upset of the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in both teams' season opener.

Tampa Bay plays Chicago tonight at Chicago Stadium, where the Blackhawks went 23-9-8 last season.

In Tampa Bay's first two games of the preseason, the team played the North Stars to a 4-4 tie at Expo Hall on Sept. 8 and defeated them 5-2 the next night at the Lakeland Civic Center.

Minnesota needed just 13 seconds to score in the first period. Russ Courtnall fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Young slid down to make the initial stop but the rebound went directly to Neal Broten.

Broten lifted a shot over Young that Lightning defenseman Marc Bergevin tried to catch. But Bergevin couldn't hold on and the puck dropped into the goal.

Broten's second goal of the season gave the North Stars a 2-0 lead. The goal is also Broten's 239th in his career, fourth on Minnesota's all-time list.

Crossman pulled Tampa Bay to 2-1 when he took a back pass from Rob DiMaio and fired a slap shot from five feet inside the blue line. The puck went between the legs of Minnesota goalie Jon Casey, drawing boos from the crowd.

The North Stars had a chance to retaliate 11 seconds later when Courtnall stole a pass and had a clear path to the goal. He launched a wrist shot from 10 feet that Young stopped with his left pad.

Former North Star Basil McRae received a loud ovation when he was announced as a Lightning starter. In the stands, there were signs that read: "Basil McRae Fan Club" and "Bring Back Basil."

The Met Center received more than 200 phone calls the day after the Lightning acquired the popular left wing in June's expansion draft. The callers wanted the North Stars to reacquire McRae, the team's all-time leader in penalty minutes with 1,567.

McRae, who had said earlier hewanted to have an extra good game before the North Stars' home fans, almost scored late in the first period when Anatoli Semenov passed up the shot and passed ahead to McRae who was just outside the crease. But Casey stopped McRae's wrist shot with his stick.

It took the Lightning only 29 seconds to fall behind in its first regular-season road game. Broten won a faceoff in the team's offensive zone. He passed to Courtnall, who tapped it past Young.

It was the second goal of the season for Courtnall, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Aug. 31 for Brian Bellows.