The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the hottest teams in hockey. That seems unlikely to change Tuesday as they look to continue their recent dominance of a Phoenix Coyotes team which just traded leading scorer Ladislav Nagy.
The Lightning (31-24-2) have won 12 of their last 15 games and are matching up against a Phoenix club they've beaten five consecutive times since Feb. 13, 2001. Tampa Bay has outscored the Coyotes 19-4 in that stretch, led by Vincent Lecavalier's four goals and four assists.
Lecavalier matched a career high when he scored his 35th goal of the season in Sunday's 4-1 road win over Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey. Lecavalier also added two assists for the Lightning, who improved to 31-4-2 when they score three or more goals.
Nick Tarnasky, who was on the ice for less than four minutes, gave Tampa Bay the lead in the second period with his third goal of the season and his first career game-winner.
"Nick is a guy we have been trying to develop," coach John Tortorella said. "He has come along pretty nicely. For him to chip in a goal against a team like that to give us the lead, it's important. We have been striving to get more goals from people other than our top guys."
Lecavalier clearly has been one of those top guys, with 14 goals and 10 assists over his last 17 games.
The Lightning, who have won five of seven at home, will try to extend their hot streak against a struggling Phoenix team that has the fifth-fewest points in the league with 52 and no longer has Nagy.
The Coyotes (25-29-2) dealt Nagy to the Dallas Stars on Monday for left wing Mathias Tjarnqvist and a first-round pick in the June draft. Nagy, who had eight goals and 33 assists in 55 games before the trade, was among the team's top three in points each of the past three seasons.
"It's always disappointing trading a player like Nagy but it was a business decision for the organization and we wish him the best of luck," said coach Wayne Gretzky. "Nagy was going to be an unrestricted free agent in July so we are very pleased to be able to acquire a first-round draft choice and a hard working player in Tjarnqvist."
The incoming Tjarnqvist has one goal and three assists in 18 games this season. It's uncertain if he will be in uniform Tuesday.
The Coyotes, who are wrapping up a four-game road trip, have lost five of seven overall and are 5-9-0 since a season-high seven-game win streak from Dec. 28-Jan. 9.
Phoenix trailed 4-0 before getting on the board in Saturday's 5-2 loss at Florida. Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Ballard each scored goals in the third period.
"Guys hate losing," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We're disappointed with our effort. As players, you don't want to accept that."