Three days without a game, and time to practice were not enough for the Arizona Coyotes to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning. After tonight’s win, their sixth in a row, the Lightning are not only the top team in the league but have a four point cushion on their closest competition.
1-0 Tampa Bay (Namestnikov) While on the power play from the Alex Goligoski penalty, Nikita Kucherov picked up a Victor Hedman rebound passed it to Steven Stamkos for a one-timer that Antti Raanta blocked but a wide open Vladislav Namestnikov was able to put in the net.
2-0 Tampa Bay (Point) Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point take the puck through the neutral zone. Palat captures the attention of both Goligoski and Jakob Chychrun leaving Point all alone to speed through the defensive zone on a breakaway and put it through Raanta’s five-hole.
3-0 Tampa Bay (Kucherov) The Lightning are all over the Coyotes’ zone. Kucherov is waiting back at the point and receives a pass from Hedman. He shoots it on net but it is initially going wide until it deflects off Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s stick.
3-1 Arizona (Keller) The Coyotes get a power play opportunity when Mikhael Sergachev goes to the box for hooking Kevin Connauton. In the last 15 seconds of the man advantage some textbook power play action helps young Clayton Keller end his scoring drought with a quick wrister. At the point Ekman-Larsonn passes it to Brendan Perlini mid-ice, who sends it to Derek Stepan. Stepan sends the puck across the slot to an open Keller while Christian Fischer keeps Slater Koekkoek busy and provides a screen on Andrei Vasilevskiy.
4-1 Tampa Bay (Johnson) Anton Stralman intercepts a Max Domi pass and sends it ahead for Brayden Point. Point gets it to Tyler Johnson who scores it top shelf.
How does Antti Raanta look?
One would think that a 4-1 score would mean that the goaltending was terrible but honestly most of the goals weren’t on Raanta. Breakaways, deflections and defensive breakdowns can’t be all on the goalie, but it would’ve been nice to get an extra save or two.
How far off are the Coyotes?
The Coyotes practically handed this game to the Lightning they have a long, long way to go before competing with top teams is a reality.
Who's a passenger?
No one really did enough in this game but it was surprising to see that Max Domi, Jakob Chychrun and Alex Goligoski didn’t even register a single shot on goal.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Brendan Perlini he didn’t score but he had the most shots on goal of all the forwards and assisted on Keller’s goal. Keller only had the one shot and it thankfully went in but was otherwise quiet.
Tampa Bay - Andrei Vasilevskiy he stopped 32 of 33 shots and choosing between Kucherov, Johnson and Point is just too difficult.
3.) Nikita Kucherov
2.) Tyler Johnson
1.) Brayden Point
For more on the Tampa Bay Lightning side of things, check out Raw Charge
• This was Rick Tocchet’s first time facing Tampa Bay as an opposing head coach. Previously he was head coach of the Lightning from 2008-10 and posted a 53-69-26 record. Next up he gets to face the Pittsburgh Penguins where e was the assistant head coach from 2014-2017 and won two Stanley Cups with the team in that time.
• The Coyotes remain the top penalty-killing team since Oct. 31. In that time they've killed 54 of 61 power plays (88.52 percent).
• With his assist on Keller’s goal Stepan has increased his home point streak to six games.
Next up on Saturday are the reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Pittsburgh Penguins, puck drops at 6 p.m. AZ at Gila River Arena. The game can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, the Fox Sports Go app anywhere, and NHL.tv for out-of-market viewers. The radio call with 'Heeter and Biz' (Bob Heethuis and Paul Bissonnette) can be heard on Arizona Sports at 98.7 FM.