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Unbeaten Wild keep Lightning winless

PA Stats Inc
By:
The Hockey News
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Unbeaten Wild keep Lightning winless

PA Stats Inc
By:

TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- New coach Barry Melrose still is
searching for his first victory behind the Tampa Bay Lightning's
bench.

Antti Miettinen scored the lone goal in the second round of the
shootout as the Minnesota Wild kept the Lightning winless with a
1-0 victory on Saturday.

Miettinen, who had scored five goals through the club's first
three games, beat goaltender Mike Smith with a backhander to
give the Wild the edge. Niklas Backstrom stopped all three
attempts he faced to drop the Lightning to 0-2-3 under Melrose,
who had spent the past 13 seasons working as a hockey analyst
for ESPN.

"Just have to believe that we're going to be rewarded for what
we've done," Melrose said. "The chances we had, the
penalty-killing, the power plays, they've just got to believe
that if we keep doing that, we're going to win a lot of games.
We're just being tested, and we've got to pass the test."

Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Lecavalier had their shots stopped in
the shootout and, after Miettinen put Minnesota in front, top
overall pick Steven Stamkos' backhander was denied, ending the
game.

Backstrom finished with 32 saves, including 13 in the first
period, for his 10th career shutout.

"You feel confident when he's in net," Miettinen said. "I'm
really happy we got the win. It's well-deserved."

Smith stopped 21 shots for Tampa Bay, recording the seventh
blanking of his career.

Despite outshooting the Wild throughout the contest, the
Lightning lost their fifth straight one-goal contest. Tampa Bay
began the day as one of two winless teams in the league, with
the Philadelphia Flyers (0-3-2) being the other.

"We'll take all the positive stuff out of this and keep it
rolling," Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger said. "We played
hard for 60 minutes, and that's something we haven't been doing.
We need to score some goals. We're getting opportunities, we're
going to score."

The last time the Lightning were winless through their first
five games was the 1998-99 campaign, when they began 0-4-1.

"We've played two solid games right now. We've just got to keep
doing it and, eventually, we'll be rewarded," Melrose said. "We
were hitting guys tonight, finishing checks. We were winning
the battles down behind their net and our net. It's contagious.
All of the sudden, everyone's starting to do it. If you were to
tell me we weren't able to score, I would have said you're
nuts."

The win gave Minnesota its fourth straight 4-0-0 start.

"The guys worked hard, I gotta give them that," Wild coach
Jacques Lemaire said. "Not a great win. We'll have to play
better."

The St. Pete Times Forum was far from capacity as most of the
city likely had its attention on Game Six of the American League
Championship Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red
Sox.

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Unbeaten Wild keep Lightning winless