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Wild hang on by the skin of their teeth in win against Lightning

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It doesn't get much closer than Minnesota's 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Tuesday.

With time winding down and the net empty for the Lightning, a mad rush at Darcy Kuemper's net saw Tampa hit the inside of the post on a shot that would've tied the game with Kuemper down on the ice.

Minnesota was able clear the puck and stave off the desperate Lightning to secure the win.

The Wild will probably consider themselves lucky to avoid the return of Steven Stamkos to Tampa's lineup, one of the NHL's top scoring talents.

Stamkos hasn't played since Nov. 11 after breaking his tibia when crashing into a goal post, and it was either tonight or this coming Saturday for his return to the ice.

It will have to be Saturday, and Tampa's offense struggled on this night without him.

Part of that had to do with Kuemper's performance in net, stopping 34 attempts on net by the Lightning, their only goal coming with six minutes left in the third period by Valtteri Flippula.

Minnesota's offense was supplied by Nino Niederreiter and Dany Heatley, picking up their 10th and 11th goals of the season respectively.

Those goals wouldn't have been possible without the return of Jared Spurgeon, assisting on both lamp-lighters after missing the previous 14 games with a lower-body injury.

The Wild have their final game before the Olympic break Thursday against the Nashville Predators, a 7 p.m. puck drop from Xcel Energy Center.

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