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                  === Wild nip Lightning thanks to Kuemper ===
 
 St.  Paul,  MN (SportsNetwork.com) -  Darcy Kuemper  stopped 34 shots and Dany
 Heatley  netted the  deciding goal  early in  the third  period, as  Minnesota
 escaped with a 2-1 decision over Tampa Bay at Xcel Energy Center.
 
 Nino Niederreiter also tallied and Jared Spurgeon assisted twice for the Wild,
 who returned from a four-game road trip by halting a two-game slide.
 
 "I  liked the way our guys came into this game," Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo
 said.  "You could  tell they  had the  right focus  defensively and  execution
 wise."
 
 Valtteri  Filppula scored  and Ben Bishop made 24 saves for the Lightning, who
 dropped three of four on their just-completed four-game road swing.
 
 Heatley  provided  some breathing room for  Kuemper, when he scored at the 34-
 second  mark  of the third.  The goal  was set up  by Spurgeon, who stripped a
 Tampa  player in the  right circle and fed to the former 50-goal scorer for an
 easy tap in and 2-0 edge.
 
 It  was needed,  as  Filppula cut  the  Bolts'  deficit in  half  at 13:53  by
 redirecting a low shot from Martin St. Louis.
 
 Minnesota  failed  to pick  up an  insurance goal  when Lightning forward B.J.
 Crombeen was sent off for roughing with 3:02 on the clock. Bishop was summoned
 to  the bench for  an extra skater with 1:27 remaining, but the Bolts couldn't
 find the equalizer.
 
 "We worked harder (than the last game) we just didn't work smarter," Tampa Bay
 head coach Jon Cooper said. "That was a big problem."
 
 Niederreiter  deposited a  Spurgeon  rebound  with 3:56  left  in the  opening
 period, just nine seconds into the game's first power play.
 
 Kuemper turned aside 11 shots apiece in the first and second stanzas to ensure
 that slim margin held up.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Spurgeon  returned  from a  14-game absence  due to a  foot injury ... Kuemper
 upped  his  season record  to 7-3-2  ... Filppula's  goal was  his 20th of the
 season,  the  second time in  his career he  reached the plateau (2011-12 with
 Detroit).
 
 
 
 
 02/04 23:19:52 ET