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Tampa Bay Lightning @ Phoenix Coyotes Preview - Riding the Lightning

Tonight the Phoenix Coyotes will square off against the Tampa Bay Lightning fresh off a day of rest after the shoot out loss to Detroit on Thursday. The Lightning are not so lucky, they are most likely going to be flying into Phoenix tired after a win last night in Dallas. The Coyotes are looking to get back the same play they showed in their 6-1 victory over the Avalanche earlier this week, and hopefully make up for the loss in Anaheim and the shoot out loss against Detroit. The Coyotes fourth line has been great as of late, they scored 3 of the last four goals and hopefully they can continue that streak in this game. The Yotes are currently in 12th place in the Western Conference but a win would tie them 8th place Colorado.

The Lightning have not been having the best season this year, they are currently tied for last place in the Eastern Conference, and they have lost 7 of their past 10 games in one long stretch. Despite their performance throughout the season, they have been having a good week though, they broke their 7 game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champions the Boston Bruins and of course last night's win over the Dallas Stars. Tampa Bay appears to have caught the injury bug this season, they currently have 5 players on the IR list and 2 players who are questionable. The Lightning have a pretty terrible road record this season of 7-16-3, and they are currently 10 points away from a playoff spot in the Eastern Division.

This is going to be the only meeting between the Yotes and the Lightning this season. Historically the Lightning have done very well against the Coyotes in the past few years, with the Lightning winning 5 of the past 6 games against the Desert Dogs.

Five for Winning

1. Play physical. The Lightning played last night in Dallas so they are probably going to be tired. A physical game should keep them tired and prevent them from getting any good scoring opportunities.

2. Get behind the defense. In this past month the Lightning's opponents have scored an average of 4.22 goals against them, they are not the best defensive team.

3. Play the former Lightning players. Mike Smith, Radim Vrbata, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot have all played for the Lightning in recent years. These are going to be the guys who know the opponents better than anyone else.

4. Special teams. The penalty kill was great against Detroit, they had to be considering how many penalties the Coyotes accrued, and the power play was not that bad, they were just unable to score. The Desert Dogs need to find some way to keep the PK but get a better power play performance.

5. Play a smarter, more disciplined game. The Coyotes had 7 penalties in the game against Detroit, that's almost an entire period spent on the penalty kill. The way to win a game isn't getting called for too many men on the ice three times in one game, even if the first one was a bad call.

Key Players

Raffi Torres

#37 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Oct 08, 1981

G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Raffi Torres 7 6 13 4 33

Raffi Torres has a goal and an assist in the past two games and his line has been very impressive lately. As a physical player Torres can hopefully slow down the Lightning who have won their last two games.

Vincent Lecavalier

#4 / Center / Tampa Bay Lightning



Apr 21, 1980

G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Vincent Lecavalier 18 19 37 0 44

The Lighning's captain has gotten points in 4 of the last 5 games including 2 goals and 5 assists. He is definitely going to be a player that the Yotes are going to need to keep an eye on.

Likely Goalies

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Mar 22, 1982

2011 - Mike Smith 36 2091 17 12 84 2.41 1097 1013 .923 2

Mathieu Garon

#32 / Goalie / Tampa Bay Lightning



Jan 09, 1978

2011 - Mathieu Garon 32 1607 13 13 79 2.95 801 722 .901 1

Injury Report

Phoenix Coyotes Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Daymond Langkow other-excused 01/21/2012


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Adrian Aucoin other-excused 01/21/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko other-excused 01/08/2012

Tampa Bay Lightning Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tom Pyatt other-excused 01/21/2012
Marc-Andre Bergeron other-excused 01/21/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ryan Shannon other-excused 12/22/2011
Mattias Ohlund knee 10/03/2011
Adam Hall forearm 01/06/2012
J.T. Wyman fingers 01/06/2012
Victor Hedman concussion 12/28/2011