Time: 9:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, BSAZ+
Opponent SBNation Site: Five for Howling
With the news of the Arizona Coyotes absconding to Tempe to play at Arizona State University’s multi-purpose arena in Tempe next season this will be the Lightning’s final game at Gila River Arena. Throughout the years they’ve posted a 7-5-0 record in the Coyotes’ second home, but on occasion have run into some tough losses.
It’s the second and final meeting between the two teams for this season with the Lightning having won 5-1 (Andrej Sustr scored!) back in October. It’s been a rough season for the Coyotes as they’ve struggled to a 12-31-4 record and are currently mired in a 3-7 rut over their last 10 games. With a win, they do have a chance to do something that they’ve only done twice this season - win consecutive games. They’ve yet to put together a three-game winning streak this year, but have four losing streaks of three or more games including an 11-game streak to start the season.
Scoring has been the biggest issue in the desert as their 2.21 goals per game is next to last in the league, and they are barely ahead of the Montreal Canadiens (2.20). In the midst of their struggles, Clayton Keller has been a bright spot with 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 47 games. That production likely wins him the honor of being at the top of trade rumors list with young defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
They are in full rebuild mode and are likely listening to any and all offers for their players. That being said, they may have uncovered a goaltender to build around in Karel Vejmeika. The rookie from the Czech Republic has appeared in 29 games and won 7 games. He’s been really, really good in their wins posting a 1.84 GAA and .951 SV%. When he’s struggled, they’ve lost. Actually, they’ve also lost when he’s played well as evidenced by a 4-2 loss to Calgary in which he made 46 saves.
There is a good to great chance he’ll be in net as the Lightning roll into town trying to right the ship after their 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Nikita Kucherov scored in his return to the line-up and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 44 saves. Brian Elliott will likely start in his place after Vasy’s busy night. Elliott won his last start as he made 27 saves in a victory against the San Jose Sharks on January 22nd.
Other than that, the line-up should pretty much be the same as the injured blueliners continue their rehab. Darren Raddysh will be back in the rotation after he played 10:43 in the game against the Avalanche.
After the game, the Lightning will head back home and have a nice layoff, not playing again until Tuesday when they make up their postponed game against the New Jersey Devils.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Mathieu Joseph - Ross Colton - Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Mikhail Sergachev
Darren Raddysh - Cal Foote
Arizona Coyotes Projected Lines
Clayton Keller - Travis Boyd - Nick Schmaltz
Lawson Crouse - Alex Galchenyuk - Phil Kessel
Andrew Ladd - Ryan Dzingel - Loui Eriksson
Antoine Roussel - Christian Fischer - Liam O’Brien
Shayne Gostisbehere - Dysin Mayo
Jakob Chychrun - Ilya Lyubushkin
Janis Moser - Anton Stralman
Lines based on Daily Face Off / Arizona’s last game