Arizona Coyotes return to Gila River Arena with another win under their belts after beating the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Unfortunately, the Coyotes will have a much harder match tonight as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Coyotes did a good job at getting ahead early and staying ahead. They didn’t trail the game once and were able to walk away with a commanding win thanks to two empty-net goals.
Arizona maintained the lead thanks to some stellar goaltending from Karel Vejmelka and a solid second period. More often than not, we have seen the Coyotes collapse in the second period and give up multiple goals. However, on Wednesday, the Coyotes not only didn’t collapse, but they added to their lead.
The Coyotes also found an excellent counter to the collapse, a good response shift after giving up a goal. The Kraken scored early in the third period, and it could have quickly snowballed, as we have seen so many times before. But a well-timed goal from Anton Strålman regained the Coyotes’ two-goal lead and stopped any potential collapse.
But the Arizona Coyotes will need to find a way to generate offense on the power play. The Desert Dogs have gone four games without a power play goal and currently have the worst power play in the league. A successful or even competent power play can make or break games. For a team that struggles to score like the Coyotes, a power play could provide much-needed offense that keeps them in the game.
The Coyotes may have caught the Lightning at the best possible time for a match. Tampa Bay played last night against the Colorado Avalanche, and unlike the Coyotes, they don’t have a week off after tonight’s game.
Last night’s game was the Lightning’s second game in February and their first loss of the month. They had played the San Jose Sharks before last night and won 3-2 in overtime.
It should come as no surprise that the Lightning are doing well this season. They are one of the top offensive teams in the league and have been getting great goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy played last night against the Avalanche, and if the Coyotes are lucky, they may get to face off against 36-year-old Brian Elliott, who has started eight games in his first season with the Lightning.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Alex Galchenyuk - Galchenyuk has been hot lately and had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ last game. He has three goals in his previous four games, and the Coyotes could certainly use some additional offense.
Tampa Bay: Brayden Point - Point had a goal in the Lightning’s last game and has three points in his last two games. Point is second in goals scored on the Lightning and fourth in total points.
Arizona: Scott Wedgewood (questionable, chest), Johan Larsson (hernia), Barrett Hayton (hand), Jay Beagle (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Tampa Bay: Erik Cernak (lower body), Brent Seabrook (hip), Zach Bogosian (lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena with a 7:30 pm start time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona Plus and 98.7 FM.