Tampa Bay at Arizona
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Saturday, January 21, 2017
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
The Tampa Bay Lightning cleared up some issues on the defensive end of the ice in the last five games, but their offense has suddenly gone cold. The Lightning managed only five goals in the last four games and need to turn things around quickly to stay in the race for a playoff spot as they prepare to visit the struggling Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Jonathan Drouin scored the only goal for Tampa Bay in Thursday’s 2-1 loss at San Jose as it fell to 1-1-1 on its six-game road trip despite allowing four regulation tallies. “It’s not for a lack of trying, not for lack of chances,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “The shooting sights are off on the stick, too many missed nets. It’s killing us.” Arizona dropped four straight contests after a 4-3 loss at Minnesota on Thursday and allowed 19 goals in its last five outings – 10 in the past two. The Coyotes expect to have Martin Hanzal (nine goals) back in the lineup after the veteran center missed the last two games for a personal reason.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN Arizona Plus
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (21-21-5): Drouin has been the most consistent offensive player since Dec. 1 with 23 points in 22 games and scored a highlight-reel goal Thursday, looping around the entire San Jose defense to score in the second period. “That’s just a big time skill play by a big time skill player,” Cooper told reporters of Drouin, who has seven of his 14 goals on the power play. Tampa Bay hopes to get Victor Hedman (38 points, team-leading 31 assists) back in the lineup after the All-Star defenseman missed the last three games because of illness.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (13-26-6): Arizona shook things up Thursday when it sent left wing Anthony Duclair and center Laurent Dauphin to the AHL, activated center Ryan White and recalled 19-year-old forward Christian Fischer, who could make his NHL debut. Forward Alexander Burmistrov posted a pair of assists in three games with the Coyotes after he was claimed on waivers from Winnipeg. Goalie Mike Smith could get to face his former team after being rested Thursday, but gave up six goals in his last start and is 2-3-0 versus Tampa Bay.
1. Tampa Bay RW Nikita Kucherov notched an assist Thursday to push his team-leading total to 42 points, but did not register a shot on goal.
2. Arizona RW Radim Vrbata, who played briefly for the Lightning in 2008-09, has five points in five games and leads the team with 29.
3. The Lightning won the last four meetings, including a 2-0 victory at Arizona last season with G Ben Bishop stopping all 32 shots.
PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Coyotes 2
Stats and Records