After splitting the two-game road trip in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Lightning are back on home ice tonight taking on the Arizona Coyotes.
Arizona rolls into town following a 5-3 loss in South Florida to the Panthers. The Coyotes are still looking for their first win of the season and have just one point.
The Lightning come in at 3-3-1 on the year and have been pretty inconsistent in the early season. Tuesday night’s 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh marked one of the most complete performances of the year for the Lightning as they defended well as a team and were finally rewarded with an offensive outburst.
After registering an assist on Tuesday, Steven Stamkos built his lead atop the Lightning roster in points. He has 10 points through the first 7 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had one of his best outings of the season on Tuesday night. He allowed just one goal on 29 Penguins shots.
Let’s take a look at the Coyotes.
Arizona came into the season expecting to be one of the bottom dwellers of the NHL. After selling off a number of previously noteworthy players, the Coyotes have changed course toward becoming a contender for top draft pick. After two bright seasons in the desert, the Coyotes future looks much brighter than the present.
The Coyotes are 0-5-1 through their first six games. They are led offensively by former seventh overall pick, Clayton Keller. Keller is tied with Phil Kessel and Shayne Gostisbehere for the team lead in points, with just four apiece.
Aside from Keller, this Coyotes team is primarily made up of cast offs from other teams.
What to expect:
This is a game the Lightning should handle comfortably. However, Arizona has been a team the Lightning have struggled with in recent years. Arizona has won five of the last eight meetings with Tampa Bay.
Arizona should bring their best effort as they are looking to finally get in the win column. The back-to-back champs should get the best Arizona has thrown at them.
Funny enough this is not the first time Arizona has come to town to play the Lightning on October 28th. In 2014 the Coyotes one trip to Tampa on October 28th ended in a 7-3 Lightning victory. A similar score can be expected in this one.
On Wednesday the Lightning announced that Nikita Kucherov underwent a successful procedure for a lower body injury. The procedure will keep Kucherov out for about 8-10 weeks. In the big scheme, this news is relatively positive for Kucherov and the Lightning. The expectation is that Kucherov will be ready to play in time for the Olympics.