Thunderstruck: Lightning Shock Coyotes 8-3, End Winning Streak

Phoenix sure looked terrible on Wednesday night in Tampa Bay, getting blown out by the host Lightning. Teddy Purcell had a hat trick for the home team.

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Coyotes Can't Survive Lightning Storm, Fall In Tampa 8-3

The Coyotes figured if they were going to lose one after winning eight in a row, they'd make it count.

Phoenix never really had a chance in visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. After 19 consecutive starts, Ilya Bryzgalov was given the night off, and Jason LaBarbera certainly showed why Bryz had started every game since January 10th.

The Lightning got on the board five times in the first period. The 'big three' from Tampa all tallied goals, with Martin St. Louis scoring a pair of goals after Teddy Purcell opened up the scoring less than two minutes in. Goals from Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier came on the power play, as did one of St. Louis' two goals.

It didn't end there. They say lightning doesn't strike the same place twice, but Teddy Purcell added two more goals to his first period total for his first career  hat trick. Purcell's outburst put the Lightning up by a touchdown in the second period.

At that point, there was really nothing that could bring the Coyotes back to respectability. Martin Hanzal scored in the latter half of the second to at least break the shutout.

If there was one positive to pull, as much of a stretch as it is, the Coyotes did win the third period. After Adam Hall made it 8-1 early in the period, the Coyotes scored a pair of goals to narrow the gap to "just" five.

Kyle Turris scored his 10th of the year, before David Schlemko netted his first of the season. Schlemko might have been the only Coyote to have a respectable game, notching two points and a plus-1 for the game. The only other plus player was Hanzal.

Despite the fact that the Coyotes had won eight in a row heading into this embarrassment, a very real fear came to the forefront for Phoenix fans. Bryzgalov can't start every game, and if he has to continue on 19-game stretches like this last one, it's going to be very difficult to perform at a high level come playoff time.

Phoenix will only have a day to recover from this, before they have to turn right around and visit the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Friday.


Coyotes Head To Tampa Bay Looking For Ninth Straight Win

The Phoenix Coyotes will look to keep their label as the NHL's hottest team when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Wednesday will mark the second meeting of the season between these two squads. Dan Ellis, yes that Dan Ellis, shut out the Coyotes in their first meeting, with Tampa taking the 3-0 win.

Needless to say, both of these squads are quite different since they last met at Arena on October 30th.

Both teams head into Wednesday's tilt with 75 points. Phoenix sits in third place, while the Lightning are trailing only the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning do come in on a slight skid, however. They've lost three in a row, their most recent loss coming when they played on Saturday against the Florida Panthers. Dwayne Roloson is expected to start for Tampa Bay.

If Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start, it would be his 20th consecutive nod between the pipes. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jason LaBarbera get his first start since January 10th, unless Dave Tippett elects to stick with the hot hand in Bryzgalov.

Once Shane Doan hits the ice on Wednesday, he will become the Coyotes' all time leader in games played, going all the way back to their days in Winnipeg. It will be his 1,099th career game, putting him in front of Teppo Numminen.

The Coyotes do still have injury questions heading into Wednesday, as both Ray Whitney and Adrian Aucoin missed Phoenix's win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Whitney missed just the one game, while Aucoin has missed the last three for the Coyotes.

With a win and a loss by the San Jose Sharks, the Coyotes can build on their first place lead in the Pacific Division. They currently lead the Sharks by just a single point in the Western Conference Standings.

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