|Lightning look to continue hot start vs. Wild|
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the last team to hit the road this NHL season.
After five consecutive home games to start the season, Tampa Bay heads to Minnesota on Saturday to face the Wild, who played in Dallas on Friday night.
The Lightning come in to Saturday with a 4-1 record, but have not won in Minnesota since April 2, 2011, with an 0-5-1 record at Xcel Energy Center since that last win.
But after being home for so long, the Lightning are embracing their first chance to get out on the road for what will be a season-long five-game road trip.
"There is something to be said about going on the road," head coach Jon Cooper said. "Not only do you have to win games on the road, but part of it is now less distractions together."
The already deep Lightning lineup was bolstered by the return to action of veteran Ryan Callahan, who underwent off-season shoulder surgery in May and was expected to be out until November. But Callahan returned on Thursday against Detroit and logged just over 11 minutes of ice time.
"Obviously great to be back," Callahan said. "As anticipated, timing is still to come. We tried to make some plays that aren't there. It's always good to be back and get that first one out of the way and calm your nerves down a little bit. No matter when you're coming back for a return, you have a little bit of jitters. It's good to get that one out of the way."
Tampa Bay's depth will be tested against the stingy Wild.
On Friday in a 3-1 victory at Dallas, it was sort of the prototypical Wild game with few goals, some spectacular goaltending and Minnesota getting some offense from the defense. It's goaltending performances like the one the Wild received from Devan Dubnyk on Friday that keep Minnesota in games.
"With this group I know that if we are not clicking a little bit and the other team is making a push, that if I can just hang in there a bit and keep the game close . . .," Dubnyk told NBCSN after the game. "We get a goal and I think they had one shot after that. That's the kind of things that we can do."
The Wild received goals from defensemen Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba in Dallas as Minnesota's defense has accounted for six of the team's 17 goals through seven games.
"It's important," Suter told NBCSN about goals from the defense. "Obviously you try to chip in and help out in any way you can.''
They will need more push from the backend while facing the Lightning in a back-to-back setting if Minnesota wants to extend its winning streak to three games.
"We have to, that's two in a row for us," Dubnyk said. "It's early but these are important games in the year and this is a team we don't see very often, but we know with Tampa it's a huge challenge and there will be no reason not to be up for that one."