TB-4 PHX–3 F
The Tampa Bay Lightning were in Glendale Saturday night to take on the Phoenix Coyotes in the second game of their six game homestand. And while both teams sit on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, the Lightning are gaining ground and the Coyotes are losing it. Tampa Bay won its second straight road game and third overall, while the Coyotes continue to skid losing their third straight and 8 of their last 10.
“Missed opportunities” was the theme that kept coming up in the Coyotes postgame locker room. The Coyotes came out strong tonight and peppered Dwayne Roloson, who got the start over Mathieu Garon, with 15 first period shots, but the 42 year-old netminder was up to the challenge turning away all 15 shots. The Coyotes got another burst of energy midway through the 2nd when a strong shift by captain Shane Doan was soon followed by a beautiful shorthanded goal scored by Lauri Korpikoski. 39 seconds after the goal, Tampa Bay’s Brett Clark took an interference penalty giving the Coyotes their first power play and seizing momentum of the game. That momentum was dashed after they were unable to capitalize on their power play chance and Steve Downie scored for the Lightning giving them a 4-1 lead after 2.
The Coyotes were not without their share of chances. Throughout the game Coyotes’ scoring opportunities and shots from in the slot continuously missed their target. And while Roloson did his part stopping 33 of 36 shots on goal, including a spectacular glove save stopping Ray Whitney point blank, the Coyotes did him plenty of favors finishing the game with 22 shots missing the net.
While Dwayne Roloson’s stellar play was the difference in the game for the Lightning, Mike Smith’s sub-par performance was a big part of the Coyotes defeat. He gave up a terrible rebound late in the 1st giving Purcell a wide open net and putting the Yotes in a 2-0 hole after the 1st period. The 2nd period goal by Downie was not only soft, but it really took the wind out of the Coyotes’ sails and also turned out the be the game winner.
Overall I thought it was a real poor performance by Phoenix. The goaltending let them down, the defense was slow and sloppy, and they did nothing to stop Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier, the leading scorers on Tampa Bay, all of whom finished with at least 1 point.
If anything positive can be taken from tonight, it is the special teams play. The Coyotes penalty killing unit was superb tonight allowing only 3 total shots and scoring a shorthanded goal. Their power play also scored tonight netting their second goal in their last 10 chances, a good sign from a unit that currently ranks 29th in the league. Another positive was the resiliency that the Coyotes displayed tonight. Down 4-1 at the start of the 3rd period, the Coyotes were swarming all around the net in the offensive zone, scoring twice. They still have that never-say-die attitude that served them well last season. If they can put forth that kind of effort for three periods consistently, then they can be contenders out West. But until then, they will continue to be on the outside looking in.
Ray Whitney scored his team-leading 39th goal of the season Saturday night
Starting center Daymon Langkow missed Saturday’s game with an injury he sustained after taking a puck to the face early in the first period of Thursday’s game against Detroit. He is listed as day-to-day
About the Author
Written by Doug Podkowsky
I have a lifelong passion for hockey. My earliest memories include watching the great Islanders teams of the early 80s win the Stanley Cup. I learned how to skate when I learned how to walk. While I am no longer in my prime, physically and on the ice, I am still a student of the game and I love to offer my expertise to fans, players, kids, and anyone else who has a passion for this great game