NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at Tampa Bay
(Tuesday, February 13th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Phoenix 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Vinny Lecavalier scored twice and Brad Richards tallied the game-winner with a power-play goal early in the third period, as the surging Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Marty St. Louis notched a goal and two assists while Eric Perrin also scored for Tampa Bay, which has won six of its last seven games and closed to within three points of the Southeast Division-leading Atlanta Thrashers. Johan Holmqvist made 23 saves for the Lightning, who are 14-5 in 2007. Ruslan Fedotenko and Vinny Prospal both added a pair of assists in the win.
Oleg Saprykin and Michael Zigomanis registered a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who have lost three straight games. Derek Morris added a goal while Mikael Tellqvist allowed five goals on 27 shots in the losing effort.
The teams entered the final period tied at 3-3, but Richards' 20th goal of the season 1:24 into the stanza gave the Lightning the lead for good. With Zbynek Michalek still in the penalty box for a minor penalty that carried over from the end of the previous period, the Lightning worked the puck around the perimeter in the offensive zone until Prospal settled with control along the lower right half-wall. He centered the puck but it caromed off the skate of Fedotenko and sat in the slot, where Richards skated in and sent a blazing slap shot past Tellqvist.
"We found a way to get it done on the power play to start the third period," Richards said.
With 8:15 remaining in regulation, the hosts sealed the win on Perrin's ninth goal. Fedotenko carried the puck down the right-wing side and stopped along the outer rim of the circle before he passed in the low slot. Perrin stuck his stick out and redirected it home for the final margin.
The Lightning have now captured six consecutive games against Phoenix.
Following Lecavalier's 36th goal that opened the scoring 5:56 into the game, he then set up St. Louis less than two minutes later for a two-goal lead. Lecavalier held control along the goal line to the left of the net and sent a quick cross-crease pass for St. Louis, whose one-timer easily beat a sliding Tellqvist from near the right post at the 7:52 mark.
"We created a lot of scoring chances and scored some early goals, which really helps with your confidence throughout the game," said Prospal.
In the middle of the first period, goals by Zigomanis and Saprykin -- at 8:18 and 11:48, respectively -- tied the contest.
Lecavalier's second goal of the opening period gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead. The visitors were pressing in their offensive zone, but Tampa defenseman Paul Ranger alertly blocked a Phoenix shot from the point.
The puck caromed off Ranger's shin pad before St. Louis spun around and, from the slot, softly sent the puck into the neutral zone. The speedy Lecavalier won the race for the puck, skated in on a clean breakaway, deked to his backhand and slid the puck through Tellqvist's pads at 15:19.
Phoenix tied the contest with less than two minutes remaining in the second when the veteran blueliner Morris tallied his fourth goal of the campaign. The Coyotes used solid forechecking to keep the puck in their offensive zone and the disc made its way back to Morris atop the right circle. Morris wound up and released a blazing slap shot that, with the help of a screen in front by Fredrik Sjostrom, lit the lamp at the 18:16 mark.
"We tied it up at two, we tied it up at three, we didn't quit," said Coyotes forward Shane Doan.
Phoenix fell to 12-18-1 on the road this season...On Monday, the Coyotes traded leading scorer Ladislav Nagy to the Dallas Stars for a first-round draft pick in 2007 and forward left wing Mathias Tjarnqvist...This marked the first meeting between these teams in Florida since October of 2003..TB has also won eight of the last 12 games in this series...The visitors ended scoreless on two power-play chances and Tampa Bay was 1-for-3 with the extra skater...Attendance was 18,019.
02/14 01:57:36 ET