Preview: Coyotes at Lightning
Preview: Coyotes at Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have hit a bump in the road during their quest for a playoff spot and look to get back on course when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. The Lightning earned points in 15 of 17 games (12-2-3) before allowing a total of 10 goals in back-to-back losses to Toronto and Washington, which have dropped them four points behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay plays five of its next seven games at home and expects to get back one of five injured regular forwards - Vladislav Namestnikov - as it takes on an Arizona team with the second-fewest points in the league. "I don't think we can start looking at other teams hoping for them to lose," Lightning left wing Alex Killorn told reporters. "If we do that, I don't think we have a chance. We have to focus on ourselves and win games. We can't leave it in their hands." The Coyotes officially were eliminated from playoff contention with Monday's 3-1 loss at Nashville but have earned points in five of their last seven games (3-2-2). Since former Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith was in net versus the Predators, Louis Domingue is expected to get the start against the Lightning on Tuesday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TVA, FSN Arizona Plus, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (26-37-9): Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson snapped his eight-game point drought with a power-play goal on Monday, which was Arizona's fifth in 45 attempts over its last 16 contests. Captain Shane Doan (lower body) is day-to-day after missing the last two contests, but veteran defenseman Zbynek Michalek played in his first game of the season Monday after spending the campaign in the minors. Rookie blue-liner Anthony DeAngelo, who was acquired from Tampa Bay at last year's draft, was scratched on Monday.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (34-28-9): Captain Steven Stamkos is practicing after missing four months due to knee surgery and Cedric Paquette (lower body) skated on Monday, but Tyler Johnson (lower body) still is recovering from his injury. None of the three are expected to play Tuesday, but Namestnikov (24 points) reportedly skated on a line between Gabriel Dumont and Jonathan Drouin at practice on Monday. Nikita Kucherov continues his offensive onslaught with 12 goals and 22 points over his last 13 contests after scoring twice in Saturday's 5-3 loss to Washington.
1. Arizona RW Radim Vrbata, who spent 18 games with Tampa Bay in 2008-09, leads the team with 17 goals and 51 points.
2. Killorn snapped a 12-game point drought Saturday with his 17th goal and is one assist shy of 100 for his career.
3. The Coyotes posted a 5-3 victory on Jan. 21 behind a four-point performance by Vrbata, snapping their four-game losing streak against the Lightning.
PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Coyotes 1
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