Lightning-Coyotes Preview

The Phoenix Coyotes have been outshot in all but one game this

season. They hope to buck the trend against the NHL’s leading


Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning bring one of the

league’s most potent offenses to Arena on Saturday


The Coyotes (3-3-3) snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday

night, winning 4-2 in Detroit as Ilya Bryzgalov was forced to make

43 saves.

“It keeps you in the game all the time, the whole game,”

Bryzgalov said. “But don’t need that many shots.”

Not that Bryzgalov seems to mind. Bryzgalov is 5-0-1 with a 2.63

goals-against average in his last six starts when facing 40 or more

shots. He’s won his only two starts against Tampa Bay and is likely

to be in net Saturday.

“He gives us a chance to win every time he’s in there,” coach

Dave Tippett told the team’s official website. “When you look at

our top players and their production so far, it hasn’t been very

good. The margin for error is pretty slim, and he makes sure that

margin for error stays close. He’s been the one constant.”

Phoenix’s offense isn’t giving its goaltending much help. Ed

Jovanovski and Eric Belanger lead the Coyotes with only six points,

and they’re each scoreless in three of their last four games.

Meanwhile, Stamkos continues to thrive for the Lightning

(6-2-1). The second-year star has eight points in his last three

games, including three assists in a 5-3 victory Wednesday night

over Pittsburgh and a hat trick Oct. 22 at Atlanta.

The Lightning, scoring 3.56 goals per game, trailed the Penguins

3-1 in the first period and pulled goaltender Mike Smith in favor

of Dan Ellis. Tampa Bay responded by scoring four unanswered goals

and Ellis stopped all 24 shots he faced.

“I think we’re always coming back,” coach Guy Boucher said.

“Whether we’re trailing by one, two, sometimes even three, that’s a

trademark of our game that we have. I think that’s a tribute to the

character on the players we have on this team.”

Stamkos improved his point total to 18 and is also among the

league leaders with a plus-8 rating. The Lightning have won 12 of

the 14 games in Stamkos’ career in which he has three or more


Martin St. Louis scored two goals and added an assist for the


“We have a long way to go, but I love the way this team

battles,” St. Louis said. “We’re in games no matter what. We bring


Despite Ellis’ solid effort in relief of Smith, Tampa Bay’s

goaltending has been an issue. Two of the Penguins’ first-period

goals came short-handed, and the Lightning are near the bottom in

the NHL with an .881 save percentage.

The Lightning played Wednesday without Simon Gagne (stiff neck),

Dominic Moore (groin) and Matt Smaby (illness). They’re all listed

as day-to-day.

The Coyotes have won two of the last three meetings after

dropping the previous six. Tampa Bay has won four of the last five

in Phoenix.