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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 30th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-1) at Phoenix Coyotes (3-3-3), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning begin a four-game road trip out west this evening when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

The Lightning are among the Eastern Conference leaders with 13 points and that has been helped by a 3-1-0 mark on the road. Tampa Bay has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games overall and will also visit Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Despite falling behind by two goals in the first period on Wednesday versus the visiting Penguins, the Lightning rallied for a 5-3 victory, getting a pair of three-period goals from Martin St. Louis.

Vincent Lecavalier, Teddy Purcell and Dana Tyrell also scored for the Lightning, who are seeking to win two straight for the first time since beginning the season 3-0.

"We have a long way to go here, but you know I just love the way this group battles," said St. Louis. "We don't get down if we're behind early and we think there's a way to come back."

Steven Stamkos notched three assists to up his season point total to an NHL- leading 18. He has just one assist in three career games versus the Coyotes without a goal.

Mike Smith was pulled after allowing three goals on seven hits in just over 12 minutes of action. Dan Ellis came on in relief and halted all 24 shots faced for the win. That performance could earn Ellis another start tonight and he is 2-2-0 with a 2.74 goals-against average lifetime versus the Coyotes.

Phoenix will try to put Tampa Bay into another early hole tonight after notching three goals in the first period of Thursday's 4-2 victory over Detroit. Lauri Korpikoski capped the opening-period barrage with a goal and added his second on the night with an empty-net tally later in the game.

Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata also lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who had lost six of seven coming into the contest and snapped a three-game slide. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped a career high-tying 43 shots in the win.

"I thought we were very solid, especially in the first period," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "Our energy was very good and we did some things that were more like the way our hockey team is capable of playing."

Defenseman Derek Morris did leave the game in the third period with a lower- body injury.

Bryzgalov has won both of his previous career starts against the Lightning, posting a 1.50 GAA.

These two clubs split a pair of meetings last year, with each team winning on enemy ice. The Coyotes notched a 2-1 win at Tampa in the last meeting on March 16, but the Lightning have still won seven of the last nine overall and four of the last five in the desert.

10/30 11:12:46 ET


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