Last 10: Tampa Bay (2-7-1); Phoenix (7-3-0)
Season Series: Tonight’s game at the St. Pete Times Forum is the second and final matchup this season between the Bolts and Coyotes. Tampa Bay picked up a pair of points in the first meeting between the two clubs back on Nov. 16 with a 4-1 win at Phoenix.
The Big Story: The Lightning are just four points out of the playoff picture and are 11-4-2 in their last 17 games at the St. Pete Times Forum, as they look to rally behind the home fans in order to make a push for the postseason after a sellout of around 20,300 on Sunday. The Coyotes, meanwhile, look to match a franchise single-season record with their sixth straight victory tonight.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays for the second time during its four-game home stand tonight against the Coyotes. The Bolts dropped the first contest at home on Sunday against the Penguins after the defending Cup champs scored twice in the final 18 minutes of regulation. Vincent Lecavalier continued his hot goal-scoring streak with his fifth tally in six games, and Todd Fedoruk recorded his second assist in as many games for the Lightning. Antero Niittymaki turned in another solid performance in net, making 37 saves and not allowing more than two goals for the 11th time in his last 15 starts.
COYOTES – Phoenix plays its third road game tonight on its four-game trip that wraps up with the second half of a back-to-back finale in Florida on Thursday. The Coyotes’ trip away from home began right where it left off back in the desert, as the team picked up a pair of wins at Carolina and Atlanta after winning three straight in their home arena. Adrian Aucoin netted the game-winner in the shootout on Sunday against the Thrashers after Phoenix got goals in regulation from Matthew Lombardi and Lee Stempniak, who has six goals in five games since joining Phoenix at the trade deadline. Jason LaBarbera stopped 39 shots and three of four in the tiebreaker in his first start since Feb. 5.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has 17 goals and 16 helpers in his last 20 games, scoring in 18 of those, and Vincent Lecavalier has notched five goals in his previous six. Todd Fedoruk has a pair of assists in as many games, while Kurtis Foster has points in five of his last six. Steve Downie has also totaled 14 points in the same number of contests for the Bolts.
- Phoenix’s Lee Stempniak has eight points in his last six and Shane Doan has two assists in an equal number of matches.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – David Hale (lower body, placed on Injured Reserve), Zenon Konopka (back spasms, out 1-2 weeks), Ryan Malone (upper body, day-to-day) and Mattias Ohlund (lower body, day-to-day). COYOTES – Kurt Sauer (upper body, week-to-week), Scottie Upshall (lower body, out indefinitely), Mathieu Schneider (lower body, day-to-day) and Robert Lang (lower body, day-to-day).
Quotable: “We played hard tonight. Stamkos got banged up during the first shift of the game, Marty was playing through an injury, but the guys left it on the ice. I thought Vinny had a strong game for us. But you’re relying on a lot of guys. You’re relying on Stammer and you’re relying on Marty, but those guys were banged up tonight. It was tough.” – Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet, on his team’s resilience during the playoff push following Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
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