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Game #46 Preview: Arizona at Tampa Bay

Adin Hill gets his second straight start; Coyotes' four-game win streak clashes with Lightning's league-best eight-game run

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #46: ARIZONA (25-16-4) at TAMPA BAY (25-13-4)

5:00 PM MST - Amalie Arena | Tampa, FL

TV: Fox Sports Arizona (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Kevin Pollock #33, Pierre Lambert #37

Linesmen: Greg Devorski #54, Brad Kovachik #71

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ARIZONA AT TAMPA BAY

The Coyotes continue their three-game road trip tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena, marking the first of the teams' two scheduled meetings this season.

Tampa Bay will visit Gila River Arena on February 22 to close out the season series.

With Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, the Coyotes extended their win streak to four games, matching their longest of such so far this year. The team previously won four consecutive games from October 15-22.

They'll look to extend it to a season-high five games tonight against the hottest team in the NHL.

The Lightning are coming off a 9-2 thrashing of the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, extending their win streak to a league-high eight games. Tampa Bay is atop the NHL in scoring, averaging an unmatched 3.69 goals per game; they have scored seven or more goals on five occasions this season.

"You love competition and you love playing against the best," head coach Rick Tocchet said following the morning skate. "Tampa's the best team in the league right now. They've won eight in a row, they've played really well the last six or seven weeks, they're scoring a lot of goals, they're playing like they did last year, it's a good test for us."

The Coyotes will look to challenge tonight's dynamic opponent with the systematic approach that has seen them play as the third-best defensive team in the league, allowing 2.49 goals per game, and steadily strong on the road, holding the league's second-best road record with a 14-6-3 mark.

Adin Hill , who matched his NHL career-high with 37 saves in the Coyotes' 5-2 win against the Panthers, will make his second start of the season tonight. He has stopped 67 of the 71 shots he's faced in three appearances this year. Ivan Prosvetov will again serve as Hill's back-up.

The team is expected to go with the same lineup it used on Tuesday, per Tocchet.

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THREE THINGS

STREAK SNAPPERS: The Coyotes will put their four-game win streak to the test today against the Lightning's league-high eight-game win streak. Tampa Bay has not lost since December 21. Arizona enters the night as the only team to snap for opponents' win streaks of five or more games this season: 5 Games (PHI - 12/5), 6 Games (WSH - 11/11), 7 Games (STL - 11/12), and 8 Games (STL - 12/31).

MODEL OF CONSISTENCY: Every Coyotes skater, beside healthy scratches Michael Grabner and Kyle Capobianco , have registered at least one point in the team's previous three games. Three players, Derek Stepan (1G, 4A), Lawson Crouse (3G, 1A), and Phil Kessel (1G, 5A), have been credited with a point in every game of the Coyotes' current four-game win streak. Taylor Hall , who is coming off his first multi-point performance (1G, 1A) with the Coyotes on Tuesday night, is currently riding a three-game point streak.

BACK ON TOP: Tuesday night's 5-2 win over the Panthers coupled with the Vegas Golden Knights' 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins jolted the Coyotes back to the top of the Pacific Division. Though the teams are tied in standings' points (54), the Coyotes are provided the upper-hand due to fewer games played. Entering the night, only four points separate the top five teams in the division, all of whom play tonight. The aforementioned Golden Knights (54) host the Los Angeles Kings, the third-place Edmonton Oilers (51) visit the Montreal Canadiens, the fourth-place Calgary Flames (51) host the Minnesota Wild, and the fifth-place Vancouver Canucks (50) visit the Florida Panthers.

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LAST TIME AROUND

MARCH 18, 2019 - ARIZONA (1) at TAMPA BAY (4)

Clayton Keller struck five minutes into the game during the teams' previous meeting on March 18 of last season at Tampa Bay's Amalie Arena, a 4-1 loss to the Lightning.

Keller's goal would prove to Coyotes' lone marker; the Lightning countered with four unanswered goals, including three in the third period, two of which came via empty net.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced in the loss.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

ONE HUNDRED (100)

The next assist Nick Schmaltz registers will be the 100th assist of his NHL career and the next goal Carl Soderberg scores will be the 100th goal of his NHL career.

Schmaltz enters the night as the Coyotes' assist leader with 28 on the year, including 11 in his last 10 games.

Soderberg, who scored in Tuesday's win, comes into the night second on the team in goals with 13, one behind Conor Garland 's team lead of 14.

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QUICK HITS

  • Phil Kessel has 43 points (15G, 28A) in 46 games against the Lightning.
  • Tampa Bay ranks first in the NHL with a 29.2 PP%.
  • Nikita Kucherov leads the lightning in assists (32) and points (47).
  • Alex Goligoski 's next point will serve as the 400th of his NHL career.
  • Victor Hedman is on a four-game point streak (2G, 2A) against the Coyotes.
  • Clayton Keller leads the Coyotes in road scoring with 18 points (7G, 11A).
  • Arizona owns a 19-22-0-0 all-time record against Tampa Bay.

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Lead Photo Credit: Mark LoMoglio - NHLI via Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Scott Audette - NHLI via Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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