National Hockey League
Coyotes-Lightning Preview
National Hockey League

Coyotes-Lightning Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:34 p.m. ET

The Tampa Bay Lightning have woken up offensively their previous three games, and the power play finally followed suit in the latest.

If they continue to light up the scoreboard in their next contest, it would mean an extension of the Arizona Coyotes' lengthy defensive slumber.

The Lightning are knocking on the door of the Atlantic Division leaders and can win their fourth straight Tuesday night by continuing their success against the Coyotes.

Tampa Bay (33-22-4) scored only 10 goals while losing four of five games earlier this month, but it's won three straight behind a revived offensive attack that has supplied the club with one of the NHL's best records since early January.


Another win would match Anaheim's league-leading 15 since Jan. 8. Tampa Bay is 14-5 with a scoring average of 3.21 during that span - fifth best in the league - and has moved within five points of first-place Florida.

The Lightning have scored 13 times on their current streak, and they prevailed 4-2 at Carolina on Sunday even without points leader Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov, who has 24 goals and 25 assists, missed his first game after suffering a lower-body injury during Saturday's 4-2 win at Pittsburgh.

Coach Jon Cooper is hoping Kucherov is available Tuesday.

Without their leading scorer, they continued to get production from the player who is expected to top that list. On Feb. 15, general manager Steve Yzerman announced Tampa Bay would not trade a struggling Steven Stamkos before the Feb. 29 deadline.

Stamkos scored only twice in a 13-game span from Jan. 15-Feb. 16, but he's found the back of the net the last three games to overtake the team lead from Kucherov with 25 goals. His goal against the Hurricanes might have been the most important as it put the Lightning ahead in the third period and ended their 0-for-18 drought on the power play.

"There's no question that the power play's been struggling," said Ryan Callahan, who scored twice. "Sometimes, you need a big goal like that late in the third to get things rolling again."

There should be plenty of opportunities to score against Arizona (27-26-6), which is 3-7-1 since Jan. 26 while surrendering 3.82 goals per game - better than only Toronto's 4.00 in that span.

The Coyotes have coughed up power-play goals in each of their last three games to drop their penalty-kill percentage to 77.8, third worst in the league ahead of Calgary (73.2) and Ottawa (74.3).

Even while keeping the league's top-scoring team mostly in check Monday, the Coyotes couldn't catch a break in a 3-2 loss at Washington.

The eventual winner came after goaltender Louis Domingue appeared to cover a puck with his glove midway through the third period, but the whistle didn't blow and the puck squirted out to Mike Richards, who buried his first goal in 13 months for the Capitals.

"We competed hard, we did some good things, but still you've got to do enough to win games," coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. "That's the bottom line."

If this game is anything like this series has been over the last 14 years, Tampa Bay should have offensive opportunities. The Lightning are 12-3-1 against the Coyotes since January 2002 and have averaged 4.8 goals over the previous six meetings.

Tampa Bay outscored Arizona 11-5 in a pair of wins last season, and Kucherov had a hat trick in a 7-3 victory on Oct. 28, 2014.

Domingue has a .898 save percentage in his last three starts, while his Tuesday counterpart Ben Bishop holds a .943 mark in his last two.


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