NHL: Coyotes @ Lightning Preview
The Phoenix Coyotes continue the road trip with a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. After a disappointing loss against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, the Coyotes are looking to bounce back tonight with a win in Florida.
Despite leading 2-0 heading into the third period against the Capitals, the Coyotes left the capital with a 3-2 loss. Coach Dave Tippett was anything but pleased about the team’s performance will surely have the guys fired up for tonight’s game.
Defenseman Brandon Gormley is set to make his NHL debut tonight. Gormley, 22, was the Coyotes’ first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2010 draft. He has posted 35 points this season (6G 29A) in 52 games with the Portland Pirates in the AHL.
Mike Ribeiro leads the Coyotes in points with 43 (14G 29A) and Antoine Vermette is the leading goalscorer with 22. Phoenix are currently in the 9th spot in the Western Conference, 3 points behind the Dallas Stars who is holding the last playoff wildcard spot.
Tampa Bay are in the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference and with the return of Steven Stamkos the team is in a good spot going forward despite being 3-6-1 the last 10 games. Valtteri Filppula leads the team in scoring with 42 points (21G 21A) and the Finn is only the team’s leading goalscorer.
Keys to the game for the Coyotes:
Play a full game – Twice in a short period of time we’ve seen the Coyotes lose despite having a 2-0 lead going into the third period. It’s absolutely vital for the team to keep focus for the whole game, another third period collapse would be unacceptable.
Special teams – The Coyotes have one of the better power plays in the league (ranked 5th) and with Tampa Bay struggling on the penalty kill (ranked 24th), Phoenix needs to take advantage if given the opportunity with the man advantage.