After blanking the Blues on game 1 of their road trip, the Lightning looks to pile on another win in Arizona tonight.
With a record of 22-6-2, the Lightning leads the Atlantic Division with 45 points and a 5 game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Coyotes sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division with a record of 7-21-5 with only 19 points. One could easily say that tonight’s game could be a trouble-free night for Tampa Bay. However, mismatches like this could also end up being a trap game from the division-leading Lightning.
Consider that the Lighting is heading into game 2 of a road trip, playing three time zones away from their home site. During their last road trip, the Lightning lost three out of four games. That included a shutout against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. The Tampa Bay side may not have a sure thing in Glendale tonight.
Then again. Let’s look at the Coyote’s numbers on their home ice. Arizona has a record of 3-8-1 at Gila River Arena. One of worst in the NHL. By the looks of the Coyote’s home record, the odds should favor the Lightning. However, there is some additional data to suggest that tonight’s game may be closer than expected.
Last season, the Lightning went 0-2 against Arizona, being outscored by 5-3 in both matches. With more than a couple of games to give in the Atlantic Division, the Lightning may not put on their best effort in order to preserve some energy for the rest of their road trip.
Also, Arizona will have some incentive to play harder in front of their home crowd. And the Coyotes may find themselves in a sort of comfort zone given that 9 of their next 11 games will take place at home.
Overall, tonight’s match may be more competitive than the teams’ respective records suggest. Look for a high scoring game that may end up going into overtime. If that is the case, the Coyotes may have an outside chance to steal a game against the Lightning.