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Arizona Coyotes at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread

The last game of 2022

Tampa Bay Lightning v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Arizona Coyotes at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME#35

Time: 5:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, BSAZ

Opponent SBNation Site: Five For Howling

The Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to 2023 in third place in the Atlantic Division and a pretty comfortable seven-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings. With 45 points in 34 games, the Bolts are eighth in the whole league in points and sixth in points percentage. Jon Cooper and his coaching staff should be more than satisfied with where their team is now, especially after losing some key roster pieces last offseason.

The Bolts are closing this calendar year at home with a game against one of the outsiders — the Arizona Coyotes, which is a good chance to extend their winning streak to three games after beating the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers in the last two games.

Some of the Lightning’s players approaching the New Year’s Eve in very good shape. That particularly applies to the Lightning’s top line, which has been the running engine of this team since the start of the regular season. Brayden Point has four goals in his last three games, recording a sixth consecutive season with at least 20 goals. Point is also tied with Sidney Crosby for the second position in the NHL with six game-winning goals. Nikita Kucherov has quietly climbed up to the fourth place in the NHL in points and with 38 assists currently trails only Connor McDavid in that category. Brandon Hagel has lost some steam with just one point in four recent games, but still remains an integral part of that line.

The home stand, however, will be following Steven Stamkos for his potential 500th career goal in the NHL. A Lightning captain is currently at 497 goals and a single hat-trick would get him to another milestone. Stamkos has been relatively quiet recently, recording his last goal against the Seattle Kraken on December 13. Stamkos also haven’t scored a hat-trick yet this regular season, with his last one dated back to the last game of the 2021-22 regular season against the New York Islanders.

On the other side the Coyotes are playing some of their best hockey this season. They’re currently running a three-game winning streak, tying their longest streak of success this season. Over the last two games, the Yotes scored 12 goals, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, (although they were seriously weakened by the injuries). The Yotes, however, play significantly worse on the road, winning just six games so far out of 22 contests this regular season. Overall they’re currently sitting at the seventh place in their division, trailing 10 points to the last wild card spot.

Clayton Keller leads his team in points with 33 of them in 34 games, while Lawson Crouse leads Arizona with 14 goals. Although the real MVP of this team has been their goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who recorded two shutouts and saved 14.16 goals above expected in all situations this season, which ranks him in top-10 of the whole league. The Lightning fans might also remember backup goalie Connor Ingram, who was drafted by the Lightning in 2016, but never got a chance to play for the team in an official game. This season he has two wins in ten starts and a .878 save percentage.

Comparison chart:

Arizona Coyotes at Tampa Bay Lightning

Game # 35 Tampa Bay Lightning Arizona Coyotes
Game # 35 Tampa Bay Lightning Arizona Coyotes
Overall Record 22-11-1 13-16-5
Home Record 14-4-1 7-3-2
Road Record 8-7-0 6-13-3
Goals For 120 98
Goals Against 98 121
xGF 117.19 80.64
xGA 108.23 124.43
PP% 26.7% 20.7%
PK% 82.1% 74.1%

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

Forwards

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli

Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defenders

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Arizona Coyotes Lines

Forwards

Clayton Keller - Travis Boyd - Nick Schmaltz

Michael Carcone - Nick Bjugstad - Lawson Crouse

Nick Ritchie - Barrett Hayton - Christian Fischer

Josh Brown - Jack McBain - Zack Kassian

Defenders

Jakob Chychrun - Shayne Gostisbehere

Juuso Valimaki - J.J. Moser

Patrik Nemeth - Troy Stecher

Goalies

Karel Vejmelka

Connor Ingram