Tampa Bay at Arizona
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Saturday, February 21, 2015
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
The Tampa Bay Lightning can assure themselves a winning road trip with a victory when they continue their five-game trek against the struggling Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. The Lightning sandwiched a 3-2 setback at Los Angeles around victories over San Jose and Anaheim while posting 11 goals total – two each by All Stars Tyler Johnson and captain Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay leads the league in scoring while Arizona recorded only 10 goals in the last seven games and has dropped four straight.
The Lightning, who stand one point behind Montreal in the Atlantic Division, are 4-3-2 this month – all against the Western Conference. “We knew this was a big test for us, playing a lot of the top teams in the West and I think we have been up for the test and buying into the challenge,” Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman told reporters. “. …This is the way we have to play.” Arizona owns more wins on the road (11) than at home (league-low nine).
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN Arizona-Plus (Arizona)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (36-18-6): Tampa Bay has received at least a point from 15 players on the trip while goalie Ben Bishop surrendered three goals in two contests to pull within one of his second straight 30-win season. Johnson leads the team with 56 points and Stamkos has reached 31 goals, tied with San Jose’s Joe Pavelski for third in the league. Stralman has posted a goal and four assists over the last four games and is among the league leaders for blue-liners with a plus-22 rating.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (20-31-7): Defenseman Keith Yandle is among the league leaders in power-play points with 26 and Oliver Ekman-Larsson tops all NHL blue-liners with 17 goals. Antoine Vermette, who will likely be dealt before the March 2 trade deadline while in the last year of his contract, is the only forward with at least 30 points for the Coyotes. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who is also rumored to be a trade target, could miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury.
1. Tampa Bay RW Nikita Kucherov boasts five goals and eight points in the last eight contests, and had a hat trick in the 7-3 victory over Arizona on Oct. 28.
2. Coyotes C Mark Arcobello has scored a pair of goals in his first three games since being claimed on waivers.
3. The Lightning are 4-1-1 in their last six games against the Coyotes, but lost 6-3 at Arizona last season.
PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Coyotes 2
Stats and Records