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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Phoenix Coyotes Preview: Lightning Rod

The Phoenix Coyotes look to move past their shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champions by facing off against the best team in the East at home.

Christian Petersen

Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes have been winning lately, but not in a way that many people believe is sustainable.  They have been consistently outshot by their opponents, their games tend to go into overtime or get tied up, and there have been more than a few defensive lapses.

One of the only downsides is that the Coyotes have also had difficulties playing with the lead or during tied games.  In their last game against the Blackhawks they didn't kick into high gear until they were down 2-0.  And after they came from behind to get the lead they couldn't keep it because they stopped playing with the same intensity allowing Chicago to come back and tie the game.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are leading the Eastern Conference, granted that isn't exactly a high bar this season.  Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that they have yet to lose a game to a Western Conference team and they have played very successfully against Pacific Division opponents, outscoring them 14-4.

Even though the Lightning are without their number one goal scorer Steven Stamkos, this team shouldn't be taken lightly.  Martin St. Louis is still a point per game producer with eight goals and 11 assists and they have four other players who are above 10 points this season.  In addition to good offense, they are getting solid defense, their two goaltenders combined have faced less shots then Mike Smith and their goaltenders are putting up solid numbers.  Ben Bishop has a 1.96 goals against average and a .932 save percentage playing in 15 games and coming out with 13 winst.

Team Rankings

Team Ranking

Phoenix Coyotes

Tampa Bay Lightning

Goals For

6th (3.22)

7th (3.15)

Goals Against

24th (3.05)

8th (2.32)


9th (20.6%)

11th (19.7%)


25th (77.9%)

4th (86.8%)

Keys to the Game

Limit Tampa Bay's shots. The Coyotes have consistently been outshot by their opponents which is one of the reasons they haven't been able to put away their opponents after they get the lead.  If the Coyotes want to start winning, and winning in regulation, they need to stop letting their opponents outshoot them.

Special teams. The Coyotes have been pretty good on the power play, scoring some timely goals in the past few games that have kept them in the game.  They need to continue doing that but figure out a way to get success on the penalty kill, which has been lacking as of late.

Get a lead and keep it. This one should be self explanatory, next time the Coyotes have a lead they need to keep it and finish their opponents, preferably before overtime.

Who's Hot?

Shane Doan

#19 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Oct 10, 1976

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Shane Doan 9 6 15 2 8

Shane Doan has been on a bit of a hot streak.  He has three goals in the past three games with two of them coming on the power play.  Doan has always taken the captains role to lead very seriously, and he will hopefully continue to lead offensively.

Martin St. Louis

#26 / Right Wing / Tampa Bay Lightning



Jun 18, 1975

Martin St. Louis had the game winning goal against the Anaheim Ducks as well as two assists.  Since Stamkos will be out for a while, St. Louis is the player to watch for the Lightning.

Likely Starting Goaltenders

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Mar 22, 1982

2013 - Mike Smith 18 1047 11 3 50 2.87 607 557 .918 0

Mike Smith has been playing a lot lately, he has started every game but one and he has played in multiple overtime periods and shootouts.  He is going to need to rest soon, but it doesn't appear like he will be resting tonight.

Ben Bishop

#30 / Goalie / Tampa Bay Lightning



Nov 21, 1986

2013 - Ben Bishop 15 890 13 2 29 1.96 426 397 .932 1

Ben Bishop has assumed the role as starting goaltender for the Lightning and he has been solid for his first 15 starts of the season.  As mentioned above, he has 13 wins, a .932 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.96.  The Coyotes are going to need to find some way to get the puck past Bishop if they want to win this game.

Injury Report

Derek Morris and Zbynek Michalek are both questionable tonight with lower body injuries.  Morris hasn't played since November 5th and Z missed most of the game against the Blackhawks logging only 4:31.

UPDATE:  Morris and Z are likely not going to be in the game tonight.

Of course Stamkos will be out with a broken tibia but the Lightning are also missing Mattias Ohlund, Brian Lee, Keith Aulie and Tom PyattSami Salo is questionable.

Puck Drop

The game will start at 6 p.m. Arizona time and will be airing on Fox Sports Arizona as well as 92.3 KTAR.  If you can make it out, tonight will be the Buck Bash with $1 hot dogs, soda, etc. Before the game, Five Hole for Food will be raising food for St. Mary's Food Banks with drop in hockey in Lot G at 4 pm

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