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Lightning aim to deal Coyotes first regulation home loss
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to continue to play strong hockey without Steven Stamkos as they visit the Phoenix Coyotes for Saturday's battle at Jobing.com Arena.
The Lightning dropped a 3-0 decision in Boston on Monday when Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia in the second period, but the club has since recorded two straight wins with their franchise player on the shelf. Stamkos, who underwent surgery to repair the break on Tuesday, is sidelined indefinitely. He is leading the team in both goals (14) and points (23) this season.
Tampa Bay recorded a 2-1 shootout win Tuesday at Montreal and then handed the visiting Anaheim Ducks a 5-1 shellacking on Thursday. Valtteri Filppula scored twice and added an assist to aid the Lightning offense in the rout of the Ducks.
Martin St. Louis added a goal and two assists, while Victor Hedman had a goal and a helper. Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning, who have won six of their last seven games, and Ben Bishop posted 24 saves in the win.
"I think we put on a great performance tonight and played hard from the get- go," said Hedman. "We were able to put a lot of pressure in their zone and when you do that the goals will come."
The Lightning, who lead the Eastern Conference with 28 points, will try to stay hot when they open a four-game road trip tonight. Tampa is 6-3-0 as the visiting team this season and also will visit Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim during this Western swing.
Tampa has dominated the Coyotes in recent years, winning three straight and 10 of the past 12 encounters between the clubs. The Bolts also have claimed three in a row and six of the last seven meetings in the desert.
Phoenix could pick up a rare win in this series tonight, considering the club is sporting a terrific 8-0-1 mark on home ice this season. Only the Ducks, who are 8-0-0 at the Honda Center, have a better home record in the NHL this season.
Despite coming off a shootout loss Thursday night in Chicago, the Coyotes also have won in seven of their past nine trips to the ice. The club has suffered only two regulation losses over its past 17 games, going 12-2-3 during that stretch.
The Coyotes went 1-0-1 on a recent two-game trip, posting a 3-2 overtime decision in St. Louis on Tuesday before losing to the Blackhawks by a 5-4 score. Brandon Pirri tied the game in the third period and scored the deciding goal in the shootout to lift Chicago past Phoenix.
Michael Stone had two goals for the Coyotes, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Shane Doan and Lauri Korpikoski added one goal apiece, while Mike Smith stopped 48-of-52 shots in defeat.
"You have to fight hard against a team like that in their own arena," said Smith. "The guys did a good job of sticking with it and give us a point on the road."
Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury and did not return. He is not expected to play tonight.
Phoenix is opening a three-game homestand tonight and will also welcome Colorado and Anaheim during the residency.
11/16 10:49:45 ET
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