Two third period goals by the Phoenix Coyotes would make it exciting, but the Coyotes would come up just short against the Tampa Bay Lightning, losing 4-3. Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each had a goal and an assist in the Lightnings win.
Coming off a emotional shootout loss against the Detroit Red Wings Thursday the Coyotes were hoping to get a valuable two points against the Lightning and move up in the standings, but that would not be the case Saturday. NHL goal leader Steven Stamkos started the scoring for the Lightning, putting in a goal on a sprawling Mike Smith after St. Louis set him up with a beautiful pass. The goal was Stamkos 32nd of the year.
Teddy Purcell would get the Lightning their second goal by picking up a rebound in front of Smith and easily putting it in the net. The Coyotes would go into the first intermission down 2-0 despite outshooting the Lightning 15 to 7 in the period.
St. Louis would open up the scoring in the second period after catching a pass from Trevor Smith and speeding past the Coyote defense for a breakaway on Smith. The veteran would easily convert on the opportunity.
Despite being down 3-0 the Coyotes battled hard and managed to capture the momentum after Lauri Korpikoski scored on a beautiful deke and shot shorthanded. The Coyotes would get a power play chance just seconds later but could not convert.
The dagger for the Coyotes came when Steve Downie scored on what is usually a routine save for Smith. It was Downie's eight of the year and gave the Lightning a 4-1 lead going into the final intermission.
The Lightning were playing on back-to-back nights and in the third period it became obvious that the Coyotes were the fresher team. Most of the period looked like a power play for the 'Yotes. Keith Yandle would get one early in the third and Ray Whitney would score late in the period on the power play, but the Coyotes came up just short.
The late power play goal is one positive the Coyotes can take away from the game. For the first time this year the unit looked to be clicking and while they only got three shots on goal during the man-advantage, there a lot of chances. This probably had a lot to do with the Coyotes best passer Whitney playing the point position.
Smith would stop 17 shots in the loss and Dwayne Roloson would stop 33 in his first win since Nov. 17.
The Coyotes are now 2-4-4 in January.
With one game left before the all-star break it is vital the Coyotes get a win. Tuesday they will get a chance when the Ottawa Senators come to town. The game will also mark the first return of Kyle Turris to Arizona after he was traded earlier this year. The boo birds will be out. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Plus and starts at 7 p.m.