Lightning-Coyotes Preview


The Tampa Bay Lightning are gaining momentum.

The Phoenix Coyotes are in search of some.

The Lightning look to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season by continuing their success against the Coyotes at Arena on Saturday night.

Tampa Bay (19-23-4) followed Tuesday's 5-3 win over defending Stanley Cup champion Boston with a 2-1 victory at Dallas on Friday, snapping a six-game skid on the road. Those wins came after a season-high seven-game losing streak.

"It's two good wins," right wing Teddy Purcell said. "It was a big emotional win to beat the Bruins. We wanted to put a streak together and came out strong."

Purcell is giving Tampa Bay some offensive punch beyond Steven Stamkos, scoring four times in five games with two goals coming against the Stars.

Purcell ranks third on the team with 11 goals, trailing Stamkos' NHL-leading 31 and captain Vincent Lecavalier's 18.

Martin St. Louis set up both of Purcell's goals Friday, giving him six assists in four games and a team-high 29 on the season.

"(Stamkos and St. Louis) carry the load night in and night out so it was nice to provide some secondary scoring and chip in where I can," Purcell said Friday.

Purcell may be a factor again versus Phoenix (21-19-8) since he recorded his only career hat trick in an 8-3 win over the Coyotes on Feb. 23.

Stamkos had a goal and an assist in that meeting after scoring once in a 3-0 win at Phoenix on Oct. 30, 2010.

The Lightning have won nine of the last 11 meetings with the Coyotes, including five of six at Arena.

Lecavalier has been one of the reasons behind that success, collecting nine goals and 10 assists in the those 11 meetings. He had one goal and four assists in the most recent matchup in February.

The Coyotes are mired in a 3-6-5 stretch that includes losing five of six (1-2-3). They opened a season-high six-game homestand Thursday with a 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit.

Gilbert Brule has been a pleasant surprise since being claimed off waivers from Edmonton last week. The center has two goals and one assists in the past three games after failing to get a point in his first two with Phoenix.

Brule is trying to revive his flagging career after showing promise with personal bests of 17 goals and 20 assists for the Oilers in 2009-10. He followed that with seven goals and two assists while injuries limited him to 41 games last season.

"He's a high-skilled guy but he's willing to go into the hard places to make his presence felt," coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought he was all around the game (Thursday)."

While Brule is providing some unexpected production, the Coyotes could use some scoring from Radim Vrbata.

The right wing has scored just five of his team-leading 22 goals at home, while being blanked in the last six games at Arena.

Vrbata hasn't scored in five meetings with the Lightning, one of his former teams. He had three goals and three assists in 18 games with them in 2008-09.