(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to shake off a
disappointing finish to their recent road trip as they return home on Tuesday
night to tangle with the Arizona Coyotes.
The Lightning posted a winning record of 3-2-0 on their swing, but they won’t
look back on the conclusion fondly as the Bolts were routed 7-2 by the
Minnesota Wild. Evgeni Nabokov gave up four goals on eight shots faced in 17
minutes and 15 seconds of action before getting lifted for Ben Bishop, who
turned aside 11-of-14 shots in relief.
Nikita Kucherov and Anton Stralman each scored goals for the Lighting, who
play their next four as the hosting team.
“It will be nice to get home,” Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said.
“Hopefully we’ll have a lot better showing in our next game then we did
The Lightning have been battling injuries early on, with Victor Hedman (broken
hand), Ryan Callahan (lower body), Brett Connolly (lower body), J.T. Brown
(upper body) and Alex Killorn (upper body) all getting hurt on the road trip.
However, Tampa Bay appears to be in line to get a few healthy bodies back —
likely Killorn and Brown — as both Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault
were reassigned to the minors on Sunday.
Bishop should get the call in tonight’s contest and is 0-0-1 with a 4.17 goals
against average and .824 save percentage in two prior meetings with the
Coyotes, allowing six goals on 34 shots.
Arizona hits the road for four straight after snapping a three-game skid
(0-2-1) with Saturday’s 2-1 overtime victory against the visiting Florida
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had the overtime winner while on the power
play, taking a pass from Sam Gagner before scoring from the left circle. It
was his second OT winner of the young season.
“I hope all my goals don’t come in overtime, but it feels good to get them
when they come,” Ekman-Larsson said of the goal.
Making his NHL debut, Justin Hodgman netted a game-tying goal midway through
the third period, while Mike Smith came up with 23 saves.
Smith spent parts of four seasons with the Lightning before joining the
Coyotes prior to the 2011-12 campaign and is 2-1-0 against his former club
with a 3.27 GAA and .878 save percentage in three games.
While David Moss is out with an upper-body injury, the Coyotes may get fellow
forward Martin Hanzal back on this trek as early as tonight. He has not played
since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 18, missing the last three games.
The Coyotes won a pair of meetings with the Lightning last season, including a
4-3 shootout decision in Tampa on March 10.
Still, Tampa Bay has won 10 of the last 14 meetings overall and six of the
last nine meetings at home.