The Phoenix Coyotes will look to keep their label as the NHL's hottest team when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Wednesday will mark the second meeting of the season between these two squads. Dan Ellis, yes that Dan Ellis, shut out the Coyotes in their first meeting, with Tampa taking the 3-0 win.
Needless to say, both of these squads are quite different since they last met at Jobing.com Arena on October 30th.
Both teams head into Wednesday's tilt with 75 points. Phoenix sits in third place, while the Lightning are trailing only the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference.
The Lightning do come in on a slight skid, however. They've lost three in a row, their most recent loss coming when they played on Saturday against the Florida Panthers. Dwayne Roloson is expected to start for Tampa Bay.
If Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start, it would be his 20th consecutive nod between the pipes. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jason LaBarbera get his first start since January 10th, unless Dave Tippett elects to stick with the hot hand in Bryzgalov.
Once Shane Doan hits the ice on Wednesday, he will become the Coyotes' all time leader in games played, going all the way back to their days in Winnipeg. It will be his 1,099th career game, putting him in front of Teppo Numminen.
The Coyotes do still have injury questions heading into Wednesday, as both Ray Whitney and Adrian Aucoin missed Phoenix's win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Whitney missed just the one game, while Aucoin has missed the last three for the Coyotes.
With a win and a loss by the San Jose Sharks, the Coyotes can build on their first place lead in the Pacific Division. They currently lead the Sharks by just a single point in the Western Conference Standings.