The Arizona Coyotes broke a three-game winless streak Saturday against the Florida Panthers, but the Tampa Bay Lightning quickly put Dave Tippett’s club back behind the eight ball Tuesday evening.
At Amalie Arena in Tampa, the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the end of one, and they struck again just over three minutes into the start of the second period.
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was on his heels all night as Tampa Bay dominated the shots on goal battle and never let Arizona get a man advantage all night.
Arizona was actually within reach at the end of two, trailing 4-2, but the home team put two more goals past Smith in the final period before he was replaced by Devan Dubnyk, who wasn’t perfect himself.
Tampa Bay emerged by a final of 7-3, improving to 6-3-1, which puts the club in second place in the Atlantic Division. Arizona fell to 3-4-1, in sole possession of last place in the Pacific and tied for the lowest number of points in the Western Conference.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s lopsided game by the numbers:
Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was a -4 in just over 19 minutes on the ice. He actually was a -5 at one point until he assisted B.J. Crombeen on Arizona’s final goal of the game. Defenseman Connor Murphy also struggled in this category with a -3 in roughly 17 minutes on the ice. Only two Coyotes registered a positive mark in the plus-minus category: Sam Gagner and Zbynek Michalek.
Arizona came into the game with one of the best power play percentages (26.7) in the league, but the team didn’t get a chance to expand its success in that area Tuesday. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, converted one of three power plays.
In the second period, Coyotes captain Shane Doan finally notched his first goal of the season. It took him six games last year to get the puck past a goaltender. The only two other Coyotes to get it into the net Tuesday were Crombeen, his first in an Arizona uniform, and Martin Erat, his third of the year.
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Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov was responsible for three of the team’s seven goals Tuesday. Kucherov became the second player to record a hat trick against Arizona this year — the first being St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz on Oct. 18. The Lightning right wing recorded nine goals in his first NHL season, and he now has four this year. Center Brian Boyle also had a multi-goal game for the Lightning, and center Tyler Johnson racked up four assists.
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Tuesday’s loss marked the third time this season — in eight games so far — that the Coyotes have allowed six goals or more. Smith has started the game for Arizona in each of those losses. He allowed six goals in 33 attempts (81.8 save percentage) against Tampa Bay, while Dubnyk came in and gave up one goal in two shots in just over 10 minutes on the ice.
Arizona defenseman Keith Yandle far and away led the team with six shots on goal in more than 23 minutes of action, but not a single attempt found its way into the net. The Lightning only had one guy take as many shots on goal, Kucherov, and he turned three goals out of it.
There was a noticeable disparity in shots on goal Tuesday, with Tampa Bay winning the category 35-25. The first period was especially problematic for the Coyotes, as they got off just three shots on goal to the Lightning’s 12.
Arizona’s Antoine Vermette recorded his fourth assist of the year on Doan’s second-period goal, but more notably, it was the 400th point of the 11-year center’s career.