The Minnesota Wild started this four-game trip in strong fashion even without star winger Zach Parise.
The Wild hope to have Parise back in the lineup Saturday night against a Tampa Bay Lightning team unhappy with its play at home.
Minnesota (20-10-6) won 3-1 at St. Louis on Thursday, with Erik Haula ending a 17-game goal drought by putting the Wild ahead for good in the third period.
Parise, second on the team with 11 goals, sat out with a knee injury. He returned to practice Friday and could be back on the ice for Saturday's game.
"I'm not sure, I don't know yet," Parise said. "I'll see how it feels tonight and the rest of the day, and tomorrow in the morning, and I guess judge from there."
The Wild split the eight games Parise missed earlier this season with a sprained MCL, and they want to make sure he is healthy for the stretch run.
Coach Mike Yeo said Friday he has laid out different line combinations depending on whether Parise plays.
"We bounced a bunch of different scenarios around today, and until we know if he's going to play or not, then I think it's just best that we kind of put it off until tomorrow," Yeo said.
Concern is growing for Tampa Bay (18-16-4) after Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, who outscored the Lightning 3-0 in the third period. The Lightning are 2-2-1 entering the finale of a six-game homestand.
Tampa Bay owns the NHL's 10th-worst home record at 9-8-2.
"This has been really a tough place for teams to play," coach Jon Cooper said. "We've kind of had a mandate for us to make it tough for teams to play and come in here and win games and this year, it hasn't been that tough."
Steven Stamkos, who has a team-high 16 goals, failed to produce a point for the second straight game and his frustration is growing with the Lightning out of playoff position.
"We've gotta be a little more (ticked) off with the situation that we're in," Stamkos said.
Stamkos has been overtaken for the team lead in points by Nikita Kucherov, who has 29 with 11 in a seven-game streak. Kucherov assisted on power-play goals by Jonathan Marchessault and Anton Stralman versus New York.
Tampa Bay improved to 9 for 29 on the power play in this homestand. Minnesota owns the league's fourth-worst penalty kill at 77.3 percent.
That's one of the matchups that concerns the Wild, who are 4-1-0 against Atlantic Division foes.
"Obviously they didn't stumble their way to the Stanley Cup Finals by accident, so this will be a good challenge," Yeo said. "I know that things haven't been exactly the way they've designed them to be but that's still a very, very dangerous team over there and we gotta make sure that we're ready for their best."
Ben Bishop is expected to start in goal for Tampa Bay despite leaving Friday's practice early. Winger Ondrej Palat may return from an eight-game absence due to an ankle injury.
The home team has captured the last six meetings, with Minnesota winning 1-0 on Nov. 7 behind Devan Dubnyk's 31 saves.