Coyotes at Lightning game preview

BY foxsports • October 27, 2014

The Tampa Bay Lightning aren't planning to allow a poor performance in their most recent contest to spoil an otherwise promising start.

Looking to bounce back from a lopsided defeat, the Lightning try to keep the Arizona Coyotes winless on the road Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay (5-3-1) had not allowed more than three goals in a game before yielding four in the first period of Saturday's 7-2 loss at Minnesota. Evgeni Nabokov saved half of the eight shots he saw before being pulled for Ben Bishop, who allowed three on 14.

"There's 82 of these," coach Jon Cooper told the Lightning's official website. "Unfortunately, sometimes things like this happen. This doesn't happen to us often, and clearly it's frustrating.

"So, you just turn the page and move on and look forward to Arizona."

Despite the defeat and a rash of injuries, the Lightning finished 3-2-0 on their first trip.

Ryan Callahan missed the last three games and Alex Killorn the last four. It's uncertain when either will return.

Fellow forwards J.T. Brown and Brett Connolly could both sit a second straight contest. Tampa Bay is also missing defenseman Victor Hedman, who's out at least three more weeks with a finger injury.

The Lightning, however, won't blame injuries for their latest effort, which was the second game in a back-to-back.

"You can't be tired," center Brian Boyle said. "That's a tough one. When it's that lopsided you can try and make any excuse you want, but we obviously didn't do nearly enough good things, and that's disappointing."

Tampa Bay, though, has at least two reasons to feel optimistic.

With a goal and an assist Saturday, Anton Stralman continues to take over a leadership role in Hedman's absence. After totaling 20 points the past two seasons with the New York Rangers, Stralman has seven and is a team-leading plus-9. He managed to finish plus-1 on Saturday.

"That's pretty impressive," Cooper said. "And play 20-plus minutes or whatever he plays, it's not like he plays one shift a period."

Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in 2013, has a goal and two assists in four games that included his NHL debut in a 3-2 loss at Edmonton last Monday.

The Lightning, 2-1-1 at home, face an Arizona team that looks to avoid dropping its first three road games for the second time in three seasons.

The Coyotes (3-3-1) went 0-1-1 on a swing through Nashville and Minnesota, then snapped a three-game slide with a 2-1 overtime victory over Florida on Saturday. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the winner after Justin Hodgman recorded the tying goal in the third period of his long-awaited NHL debut.

Hodgman, who played for nine teams in six minor and European leagues, could see more playing time with injured forwards Martin Hanzal and David Moss day to day.

"That's why you play the game, to be an NHL player and score an NHL goal," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said.

The Coyotes had dropped three straight to the Lightning before totaling 10 goals to win both meetings last season. Bishop, 4-1-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average this season, allowed six goals on 34 shots in those two games.


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