Anthony Perez | Dave Vest
After closing a three-game trip with a win in Detroit on Thursday, the Coyotes return home on Saturday night to open a brief two-game homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is hopeful his team can duplicate the effort it displayed against the Red Wings.
“It's consistency, in how we want to compete and how we want to play,” Tippett said. “We’ve lacked that this year. We’ve played some good games, and come back the next game and not played very well. We’ll continue to address that, but I really like some of the things that we did (on Thursday).”
The Coyotes responded to adversity in one of the league's tougher buildings to play in for a road team.
“If you’re going to be an elite team in this league, you have to put a winning streak together, and I thought our guys did a great job,” Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler
said. “Our backs were kind of against the wall and we came out swinging, and we played Coyotes hockey for the most part of the game.“
Phoenix (3-3-3) will again have a tough opponent on Saturday in Tampa Bay (6-2-1).
“They've got a lot of skill up front, they’ve got a new system, and a fresh start,” Fiddler said. “Everyone is fresh there through the organization, so I’m sure it’ll be a good game. We’re going to have to watch their key guys, and everyone is going to have to chip in and be responsible, and hopefully we can come out with a win.”
Coyotes center Martin Hanzal
, who has been sidelined with a lower-body injury the past week, practiced with teammates on Friday.
“Hanzal is close,” Tippett said. “... I would say that if he doesn’t play (tonight) he’ll play on Wednesday.”
Defenseman Derek Morris
, who left Thursday’s game in Detroit with a lower-body injury, did not practice Friday but may play tonight.
Under new Head Coach Guy Boucher, Tampa Bay leads the NHL in goals per game at 3.56 and shots per game with 35.6.
The Lightning are excelling on special teams with a 24.4 percent success rate on power plays (fifth in NHL) and a 90.2 success rate on penalty kills (second in NHL).
Center Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, leads the team and the league with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists).