The theme of tonight's postgame is failure to capitalize. The Coyotes seemed to play the better hockey game, they had control of the game, they had more shots on goal, they spent less time in the penalty box, they even had good performance from their special teams with a short handed goal and a power play goal. So why was the final score 4-3? The Coyotes were unable to capitalize on their chances, they weren't able to get the puck in the net despite how many shots they took.
Like I said there was some great play by the Coyotes. Lauri Korpikoski getting a short handed goal was amazing, and Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney both got goals in the third, and it was good to see them starting to step up. Brule, Derrick Morris was injured in this game, we are going to have to wait to see if another Coyotes player is going to be going to be out for a while, at the time I am writing this there has been no word about him. Mike Smith wasn't playing his best, he didn't get a chance to swallow the rebounds like we have seen him do so many times before, although there were definitely situations where defense shouldn't have let players like Teddy Purcell alone in front of the net, that is a recipe for disaster.
The Lightning didn't seem to really have control over the game but they found ways to score throughout. Credit were credit is do though Dwayne Roloson was great in goal, he blocked 33 shots from all over the ice. They took an early lead with a great goal by Steven Stamkos off a beautiful pass from Martin St Louis and they kept that lead for the entire game. They also played a very strong final five minutes allowing the Coyotes few chances to come from behind and get a tying goal. They did learn a lesson close to halfway through the second period when they put five forwards on their power play, a mistake that Korpedo took advantage of, and one that they they did not repeat on future power plays.
Bullet Point Notes From the Game:
- Starting goalies are Mike Smith and Dwayne Roloson. I expected Mathieu Garon but they decided to go with the fresh goalie.
- The first half of the first its all Coyotes, they are winning twice as many face offs and a lot of shots on goal, not too many great scoring chances though.
- Steven Stamkos scores off a great feed from Martin St Louis, the Coyotes are chasing another game.
- After the Tampa Bay goal the Lightning aren't letting the Coyotes get in as deep, they are definitely getting momentum from that goal.
- A linesman is injured by a puck deflection. This is something that I would expect to happen more often than it does. Thankfully he looks okay
- Steve Downie takes a shot on Smith, who is unable to control the rebound. The puck goes right to Teddy Purcell who is alone in front of the net. 2-0 Lightning.
- The Coyotes keep up the pressure all around but so far the closest thing to a Coyotes goal is Taylor Pyatt ending up in the Tampa Bay net.
- Dereck Morris was hurt during the first period. He will not return for the rest of the game.
- Shane Doan gets 3 shots in a row on the Tampa Bay goalie, he was unable to make anything happen with them.
- On a breakaway Martin St Louis scores for Tampa Bay, 3-0 Tampa.
- Martin Hanzal is called for interference, Tampa has the first power play of the game and they decide to put out 5 forwards, Lauri Korpikoski with some great puck control gets the first Phoenix goal. 3-1 Tampa.
- Brett Clark is called for interference before the end of the Lightning's power play, 4 on 4 hockey for 25 seconds and then the first Phoenix power play.
- Roloson makes a great save with his glove just before the puck crosses the line. The play is up for review, but Toronto comes back with a good save.
- Steve Downie has a shot on Smith, it reflects off him and into the goal. 4-1 Tampa.
- After another Clark penalty the Yotes are back on the power play. Tampa Bay has a decent break away and Smith gets very lucky and the puck doesn't go in.
- At the start of the third Brule is skating with Shane Doan and Korpikoski. This is a pretty decent line.
- Korpikoski feeds to puck back to Keith Yandle who is almost at the the blue line, he does an amazing slap shot for a Phoenix goal. 4-2 Tampa.
- Again the Yotes have some amazing flurries that they can not get into the net. During one Roloson ends up going down after a Lightning player pushes a Coyotes player into him. He spends a lot of time on the ice not moving with his eyes closed, although he manages to get back up and finish the game.
- Steve Stamkos is called for tripping. After a pretty lengthy setup Ray Whitney gets the power play goal with a slap shot. This looks like it may be the start of a comeback. 4-3 Tampa.
- After the goal Tampa is great on defense. They are not letting the Yotes into the neutral zone without a fight.
- Stamkos is called for cross checking and with 27 seconds left Phoenix is going to have a power play. The Yotes lose the face off and eventually the game.
Five For Winning
1. Play physical. The Lightning played last night in Dallas so they are probably going to be tired. A physical game should keep them tired and prevent them from getting any good scoring opportunities. This was a physical game, not the most physical game I've seen but not the least. Unfortunately the Lightning were good at keeping their players fresh, they weren't many situations where they seemed winded. They also had a fresh goaltender which helped.
2. Get behind the defense. In this past month the Lightning's opponents have scored an average of 4.22 goals against them, they are not the best defensive team. The Coyotes definitely spent time behind the Lightning's defense, unfortunately they were unable to capitalize on most of their scoring opportunities.
3. Play the former Lightning players. Mike Smith, Radim Vrbata, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot have all played for the Lightning in recent years. These are going to be the guys who know the opponents better than anyone else. These three played, Vrbata's play was okay but he did not show up on the score sheet, Smith and Pouliot didn't have there best games.
4. Special teams. The penalty kill was great against Detroit, they had to be considering how many penalties the Coyotes accrued, and the power play was not that bad, they were just unable to score. The Desert Dogs need to find some way to keep the PK but get a better power play performance. The penalty kill was great, not allowing any power play goals and even getting a short handed. Anytime the power play scores its better than they usually are, unfortunately they need to get a lot better, another power play goal could have made it a different hockey game.
5. Play a smarter, more disciplined game. The Coyotes had 7 penalties in the game against Detroit, that's almost an entire period spent on the penalty kill. The way to win a game isn't getting called for too many men on the ice three times in one game, even if the first one was a bad call. There were only two Coyotes' penalties which is good. They didn't run into problems like they did in Detroit which is also good, but I would hope that they wouldn't.
Our Three Stars
1. Dwayne Roloson - He made 33 saves and kept the Yotes from coming back.
2. Lauri Korpikoski - His short handed goal definitely gave the momentum to the Coyotes a bit, and his assist helped keep them in the game.
3. Ray Whitney - An assist and a power play goal. Its good to see the Wizard showing up on the score sheets.
Comment of the Night
I was hoping that this was going to be the game that moved the Coyotes up in the Western Conference, but unfortunately that didn't happen. This means that next game is going to have to be that game against the Ottawa Senators, which will be followed with a nice break. The longer the Coyotes go without getting a regulation win the more that each game is going to mean.