(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning will shoot for a second straight
win, as they continue a five-game road trip with Saturday’s matchup against
the sliding Arizona Coyotes.
The Lightning have won two of three at the start of their trek, with the
setback coming in a 3-2 regulation loss Monday night in Los Angeles. The Bolts
were able to bounce back on Wednesday when they slammed the Anaheim Ducks,
Steven Stamkos capped Tampa Bay’s four-goal second period with his 31st of the
season to help the Lightning pick up the win at the Honda Center.
Tyler Johnson, Anton Stralman and Nikita Kucherov all lit the lamp as well.
Kucherov has eight points in his last eight games, posting five goals and
three assists in that span.
Ben Bishop, who had been pulled in two of his previous four starts, picked up
the win with 24 saves.
Tampa Bay trailed 1-0 after the first period, but answered twice in a 1:24
span early in the second to take the lead for good. The first goal came at the
4:31 mark when Brian Boyle kept the puck in the zone and fired a shot on net
that Stralman deflected in.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Boyle, (J.T.) Brown and (Jonathan)
Drouin because they got us going,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said.
Tampa, which is one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the
Atlantic Division, is 14-12-5 as the road club this season. The Bolts will end
the swing tomorrow at Colorado.
With the Lightning playing on consecutive days, Bishop will likely get a rest
from backup Andrei Vasilevskiy over the next two games.
Arizona has lost four straight in regulation and six of its last seven. The
swoon has allowed Edmonton — the last-place club in the Western Conference —
to move within three points of the Coyotes.
The Coyotes have been outscored 16-6 during their four-game skid and were
handed a 5-2 road loss by the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mark Arcobello scored for Arizona, while backup
netminder Mike McKenna stopped 29 shots in the loss.
“It’s goaltending in hockey and anything can happen. You always have to be
ready,” said McKenna. “You just gotta get in front of the puck and I did not
do that early tonight.”
Mike Smith is expected to return to the crease tonight and is 2-2-0 with a
4.12 goals against average in four career games against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay has a 4-1-1 record over its last six meetings with the Coyotes and
Arizona has lost six of the past eight on home ice in this series.