The bye week has ended for the Minnesota Wild, as they have their work cut out for them as they host the NHL’s best team — the Tampa Bay Lightning — on Hockey Day Minnesota.

Tampa Bay Lightning (31-11-3) projected lines and defensive pairings (via dailyfaceoff)

90 Vlad Namestinkov – 91 Steven Stamkos – 86 Nikita Kucherov
18 Ondrej Palat – 21 Brayden Point – 9 Tyler Johnson
17 Alex Killorn – 37 Yanni Gourde – 89 Cory Conacher
14 Chris Kunitz – 13 Cedric Paquette – 24 Ryan Callahan

29 Slater Koekkoek – 6 Anton Stralman
98 Mikhail Sergachev – 5 Dan Girardi
55 Braydon Coburn – 59 Jake Dotchin

Starting goaltender: 88 Andrei Vasilevskiy (28-7-2, 2.23 GAA, .929 SV%, 6 SO)

Noteworthy things:

  • The Lightning placed Burnsville native JT Brown on waivers on Jan. 14. He was claimed the next day by the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Assistant coach Todd Richards is a native of Crystal and was formerly the Wild head coach from 2009-11. Richards also played hockey for the University of Minnesota from 1986-89 and still holds records for most points (158) and assists (128) by a defenseman in program history.
  • Lightning senior advisor to the general manager Tom Kurvers, is a Minneapolis native and is a member of both the Bloomington Jefferson and University of Minnesota-Duluth athletic hall of fames.

Minnesota Wild (24-17-5) projected lines and defensive pairings (via dailyfaceoff)

16 Jason Zucker – 9 Mikko Koivu – 64 Mikael Granlund
26 Daniel Winnik – 12 Eric Staal – 11 Zach Parise
37 Kyle Rau – 3 Charlie Coyle – 14 Joel Eriksson Ek
17 Marcus Foligno – 7 Matt Cullen – 63 Tyler Ennis

20 Ryan Suter – 46 Jared Spurgeon
25 Jonas Brodin – 24 Mathew Dumba
23 Gustav Olofsson – 39 Nate Prosser

Starting Goaltender: 40 Devan Dubnyk (17-9-3, 2.61 GAA, .919 SV%, 3 SO)

Noteworthy things:

  • Making his Minnesota Wild debut tonight will be Eden Prairie native Kyle Rau, who was recalled from Iowa on Friday. Rau has played in 33 career NHL games the previous two season with Florida. Rau had 21 points (11G-10A) in 36 games for Iowa this season. The former University of Minnesota forward tallied 164 points in four seasons with the Gophers from 2011-2015.
  • Virginia native Matt Cullen is just one point away from hitting 700 points in his career.
  • Zach Parise — 335 career games with Minnesota — is the Wild all-time games played leader by a Minnesota-born player. The Minneapolis native has yet to score a goal in the seven games since his season debut after missing the entire season with a back injury.
  • Nate Prosser — an Elk River native — will be playing in his 22nd consecutive game since being acquired on waivers from the Blues on Nov. 30. Prosser — who has played 303 career games with Minnesota, second to Parise for most by a Minnesotan —  scored the game winning goal for the Wild on Hockey Day Minnesota 2014.

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