Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Arizona Coyotes Pick & Prediction JANUARY 25th 2024

After a successful three-game road trip, the Tampa Bay Lightning will return home for a two-game set, starting with the Thursday night season-series finale against the Arizona Coyotes.

By beating the Flyers for the eighth straight time in Philadelphia, a 6-3 decision on Tuesday courtesy of Nikita Kucherov’s four-point effort, the Lightning finished the trip with a 2-1-0 mark. Now Tampa Bay will face Arizona and then the New Jersey Devils on Saturday before the All-Star break.

Kucherov notched a hat trick and assisted on Michael Eyssimont’s game-winning, power-play tally in the second period. The 30-year-old right winger boosted his point total to 80 (31 goals, 49 assists) through 47 games. He is on pace to top his career-best mark of 128 points, set in 2018-19.

“We’ve been good at home, struggled a little bit on the road, so going back with two wins and a loss is progress for us,” Eyssimont said. “When you’re out there with (Kucherov), you just get open.”

Eyssimont has a career-high eight goals this season after producing just five in 54 games last season while splitting time between the Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay.

When the Lightning last met Arizona, on Nov. 28, the homestanding Coyotes prevailed 3-1. Arizona got two goals from Michael Carcone, one from Travis Boyd and 30 saves from goaltender Connor Ingram, who likely will start in Tampa on Thursday.

That loss was Tampa Bay’s second during a season-worst, four-game skid, all in regulation.

Conversely, the victory was Arizona’s second in a season-best, five-game winning streak.

Since that date in the desert, the Coyotes are 13-11-1, and they have crept into the Western Conference’s wild-card race. Arizona is just two points behind the Nashville Predators, who hold the last playoff position, and the Coyotes have a game in hand.

Arizona closed out its recent two-game homestand with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Monday game that featured perhaps the season’s strangest play.

The Coyotes committed an infraction while on the power play, and the Penguins took the puck back into their end during the delayed penalty as Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry headed to the bench for the extra skater.

When Kris Letang slid a slightly wide pass back to Evgeni Malkin, who knocked it into the Pittsburgh net for an own goal.

Per NHL Stats, Arizona became the first team to have a power-play goal while managing zero power-play shots on net in a game.

Lawson Crouse was credited with the tally after last touching the puck for the Coyotes.

“I was happy for Crouser to be able to get that one,” teammate Jason Zucker said. “I think he took it off his head and about three minutes later ended up with a goal, so good for him.”

In Sunrise, Fla., on Wednesday in the opener of a back-to-back set, Arizona was bashed 6-2 by the Florida Panthers, trailing 6-0 at one point.

“I don’t know what to say, really,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said, according to NHL.com. “There is no real right side to our performance. We were not connected, not urgent enough, our execution was not there, our passing and our shooting was not there. It’s an off night. One of those nights.”

Arizona’s Dylan Guenther had a goal and an assist and Logan Cooley added a goal. Karel Vejmelka allowed six goals on 43 shots.

–Field Level Media

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