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Preview: Coyotes at Lightning

Tampa Bay looks to tighten Eastern Conference wild-card race; center Christian Fischer to play for Coyotes

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

COYOTES (26-37-9) at LIGHTNING (34-28-9)

7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SUN, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV

 

Coyotes team scope

The Arizona Coyotes will try to avoid their fourth straight loss. They started a five-game road trip with a 3-1 loss at the Nashville Predators on Monday. Center Christian Fischer, 19, was recalled from Tucson of the American Hockey League and is expected to play on the fourth line between Teemu Pulkkinen and Anthony Duclair. Fischer, the Coyotes' second-round pick (No. 32) in the 2015 NHL Draft, had two goals in three games with Arizona earlier this season. He has 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) in 51 games with Tucson. "We wanted to give him another look," coach Dave Tippett said. "He played well [in the AHL]." Veteran defenseman Zbynek Michalek made his season debut for the Coyotes on Monday after being recalled from Tucson, where he had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 43 games. Goaltender Louis Domingue will start. Forward Shane Doan is questionable; he's day to day with a lower-body injury.

 

Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining. "The guys know what's at stake, and for us it's just getting two points," forward Jonathan Drouin said. "We've got to start right away, as soon as the puck drops. It's our building and we have to make it feel like our building." Center Vladislav Namestnikov is expected to be in the lineup after missing the past three games because of a lower-body injury. Forward Ondrej Palat, who left practice early Monday because of an undisclosed injury, took part in line rushes at the morning skate and also is likely to play. Captain Steven Stamkos practiced Monday and took part in the morning skate Tuesday but will not play. Center Cedric Paquette practiced Monday in a non-contact jersey but neither he nor center Tyler Johnson will play; each has a lower-body injury. The Lightning signed defenseman Libor Hajek to a three-year entry-level contract Tuesday. Hajek, 19, was selected in the second round (No. 37) of the 2016 NHL Draft. He has 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 65 games with Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League.

 

Coyotes projected lineup

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Radim Vrbata

Brendan Perlini -- Jordan Martinook -- Tobias Rieder

Lawson Crouse -- Josh Jooris -- Jamie McGinn

Teemu Pulkkinen -- Christian Fischer -- Anthony Duclair

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski -- Connor Murphy

Jakob Chychrun -- Zbynek Michalek

Louis Domingue

Mike Smith

Scratched: Peter Holland, Anthony DeAngelo

Injured: Brad Richardson (broken leg), Kevin Connauton (upper body), Shane Doan (lower body), Alexander Burmistrov (concussion)

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Jonathan Drouin

Joel Vermin -- Yanni Gourde -- Adam Erne

J.T. Brown -- Gabriel Dumont -- Luke Witkowski

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Greg McKegg

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee surgery), Ryan Callahan (hip), Tyler Johnson (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)

 

Status report

The Coyotes sent forward Laurent Dauphin to Tucson to make room for Fischer. ... Stamkos and Paquette did not participate in line rushes. ... Namestnikov will move into the second-line center role, leaving Point as the No. 1 center. The Lightning sent forward Byron Froese to Syracuse of the AHL.

 

Who's hot

Kucherov scored his 100th NHL goal Saturday and has 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in his past 13 games. Hedman has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games.

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