The Arizona Coyotes dropped last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was their second loss to the Lightning this season, and even though the Coyotes lost, they showed how far they have come since the beginning of the season.
Tampa Bay started with pressure and quickly took the lead. Brayden Point scored three and a half minutes when he quickly brought the puck through the neutral zone, used Dysin Mayo as a partial screen, and fired his shot past Karel Vejmelka. It didn’t take long, but the Lightning had the lead.
The Coyotes got an early power play but failed to register a shot on goal with the man advantage. Arizona did get close after the power play expired when Clayton Keller’s shot stopped right on the goal line, but the puck failed to cross the goal line completely, and the score remained 1-0.
The Lightning continued to outshoot the Desert Dogs throughout the game and remained in control. Karel Vejmelka made a few big saves, but the Lightning kept applying pressure. Tampa Bay got a little lucky late in the first when Corey Perry picked up a rebound and fired it on net, only to see the puck deflect of Vejmelka’s pads into the back of the net.
Arizona didn’t give up, and late in the first, they finally broke through and scored. Janis Moser fired a shot from the point, and Alex Galchenyuk picked up the rebound in front of the net, found a good angle, and fired it past Brian Elliott, cutting the Lightning’s lead in half.
Second periods have been a problem for the Coyotes this season, and the Desert Dogs didn’t do themselves any favors last night. Janis Moser took a tripping penalty 26 seconds into the middle frame, and the Coyotes were headed to an early kill.
The Coyotes did a good job slowing things down in the second. Even with a second power play late in the second, the Lightning were limited to just five shots on goal compared to the Coyotes’ four. The Coyotes were still down going into the third, but they were doing a good job staying in the game.
Unfortunately, things got harder almost immediately. The Coyotes turned the puck over in the offensive zone, and Steven Stamkos took the puck the other way and scored. Two minutes later, the Coyotes took their final penalty of the game, and it briefly looked like the Coyotes were going to have a third-period collapse.o
But the Coyotes didn’t collapse. Instead, they killed the penalty, and midway through the period, they cut the Lightning’s lead back down to one.
Travis Boyd found a streaking Keller in the neutral zone, who brought the puck with speed and sent the puck five-hole past Elliott, putting the Coyotes back to within one.
all aboard the Clayton Train! pic.twitter.com/lzsngLiYXp— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 12, 2022
Unfortunately, there is a reason that the Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups. Less than three minutes after Keller brought the Coyotes within one, Steven Stamkos scored his second of the night and 22nd of the season, making it 4-2 Tampa Bay.
The Coyotes kept up the pressure, and with Karel Vejmelka on the bench, they were able to cut the Lightning’s lead back down to one when Nick Schmaltz picked up a rebound and put it past Elliott.
With the score within one, the Lightning took over. The Coyotes spent much of the final minute playing in their own zone, unable to pull Veggie for the extra attacker. Instead, the seconds ticked away, and the Lightning won 4-3.
When the Coyotes played the Lighting at the start of the season, they could barely keep up and lost 5-1. However, last night, the Coyotes found a way to stay in the game and only lost by a single goal. It’s not much, but it shows definite improvement, and the Coyotes should be proud of themselves going into their week-long break.
- Steven Stamkos - 2 goals
- Clayton Keller - Goal and an assist
- Brayden Point - Goal
The Coyotes have some time off and won’t play again until Saturday, February 19th, when they host the Los Angeles Kings.