Wild 4, Lightning 1

Niklas Backstrom got all the help he needed from the Minnesota

Wild’s potent power play.

Cal Clutterbuck and Antti Miettinen scored on power plays during

a three-goal first period, Backstrom made 37 saves and the Wild

beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Sunday.

”It’s easier when you get a good start,” Backstrom said. ”You

can play your own game. You don’t have to take too many

chances.”

John Madden and Eric Nystrom also scored, and Martin Havlat had

three assists, giving him 13 assists and 22 points in 18 games

against Tampa Bay. The Lightning outshot Minnesota 16-6 in the

first, and 38-18 overall.

”We had 34 shots in Atlanta (Thursday) and we got one goal, so

tonight we capitalized on our chances,” Madden said. ”As long as

we get two points, I’m not really concerned about how many shots be

get. I’ll take quality over quantity any day.”

Martin St. Louis scored for the Lightning, who have lost three

in a row and six of seven. Steven Stamkos had an assist, but saw

his four-game goal streak end.

”Again, one of those games where we double the shots of the

other team and can’t get a goal,” Stamkos said.

Stamkos, who has 15 goals and 13 points, has a point in 15 of 17

games this season.

Over the last seven games, Tampa Bay has 13 goals.

”We’re in a cloud right now,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher

said. ”The opportunities are there. We’ll get through it.”

Clutterbuck opened the scoring on a flukey power-play goal at

7:16 of the first. His shot from the left circle hit the end boards

and rebounded into the crease, where the puck went off the back

goalie Dan Ellis’ left leg and into the net.

St. Louis tied it at 1 during a power play at 11:31 of the

first.

Less than a half-minute after St. Louis skated in alone and had

his left circle shot stopped by Backstrom, Madden made it 2-1 from

in-close with 7:05 left in the first.

Minnesota, which entered with the NHL’s second-best power play,

converted its second man-advantage during the first and took a 3-1

lead when Miettinen scored with 29.4 seconds to go.

Tampa Bay entered with the league’s second-leading

penalty-killing unit and had given just two power-plays goals in 27

opportunities at home this season entering the game.

Nystrom scored an empty-net goal with 48.8 second left in the

third. The goal stopped a 23-game goal drought, dating to March

25.

The Wild wound up 2 of 3 on the power play, while Tampa Bay

converted one of its three chances.

NOTES: Tampa Bay C Vincent Lecavalier will have surgery Monday

to expedite the healing process for a broken right hand, which will

keep him out of action for three to four weeks. He was placed on

injured reserve, retroactive to Thursday. … Wild D Marek Zidlicky

returned after missing three games because of a leg injury. …

Lightning LW Simon Gagne (neck), out since Oct. 22, has resumed

skating. … Minnesota D Brent Burns served the first game of a

two-game suspension for careless use of his stick. His

unintentional hit Friday night broke Florida RW Steve Bernier’s

orbital bone. … Tampa Bay RW Steve Downie (back) played after

missing the previous three games.