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Coyotes at Lightning preview

Arizona eyes fifth straight victory; Tampa Bay can stretch season-long winning streak to nine

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

COYOTES (25-16-4) at LIGHTNING (25-13-4)



The Game

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to extend their season-long winning streak to nine games when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

The Lightning have outscored opponents 38-17 in eight consecutive victories, the longest active run in the NHL. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has won his past six starts with a 2.17 goals-against average and .932 save percentage for Tampa Bay, which is 11-2-1 in its past 14 games.

The Coyotes look to extend their winning streak to five games, which would be their longest this season. Goalie Adin Hill will make his second straight start; he allowed two goals on 39 shots in a 5-2 win at the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. 

Arizona, tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division, has 31 road points this season (14-6-3), second in the NHL to the Washington Capitals (35; 17-6-1).


Players to watch

Coyotes forward Phil Kessel has six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak.

Lightning center Brayden Point has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past nine games.


They said it

"The worst thing to do [against the Lightning] is back off … skate backwards and back in your end. They'll kill you. You have to go through them. If that's your man, mark them … You can't play off guys, you've got to be in their faces." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet

"We know they're a very good team this year. Obviously they are coached well with [Rick] Tocchet over there. He is a very structured coach. They pay attention to details, especially defensively. They have added some offensive players as well, so they're not just a defensive-minded team." -- Lightning center Steven Stamkos


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Christian Dvorak -- Conor Garland

Clayton Keller -- Carl Soderberg -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Brad Richardson -- Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Adin Hill

Ivan Prosvetov

Scratched: Kyle Capobianco, Barrett Hayton , Michael Grabner

Injured: Antti Raanta (lower body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)


Lightning projected lineup

Steven Stamkos -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Anthony Cirelli -- Tyler Johnson

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Alex Killorn

Carter Verhaeghe -- Mitchell Stephens -- Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman -- Jan Rutta

Braydon Coburn -- Erik Cernak

Kevin Shattenkirk -- Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (upper body)

Scratched: Luke Schenn


Status report

Raanta participated in an optional morning skate and the goalie remains day to day, . … McDonagh did not skate Thursday. The defenseman is questionable for the Lightning's upcoming games at the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils this weekend.


Stat pack

Crouse has scored a goal in three consecutive games. … Schmaltz has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in his past 10 games. … Stamkos has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past eight games. … Kucherov has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak.

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