On the second night of a back-to-back on their road trip, the Coyotes got down big early and were unable to make a game of it in their 8-3 loss to the Lightning in Tampa Bay. The loss for Phoenix was their first in nine games.
Jason LaBarbera was in the net for Phoenix for the first time since a game on Feb. 2, where the Canadian goaltender played only eight minutes. Ilya Bryzgalov was in the middle of 19 consecutive starts, including last night’s 3-2 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia. After tonight’s game, the backup goaltending spot is suddenly a concern. You have to have a fresh Bryzgalov down the stretch, but you also can’t put a guy out there that isn’t going to help you win games.
LaBarbera got off to a rocky start right off the bat. Tampa Bay scored five goals within a 16-minute stretch during the first period to put the game out of reach for the Coyotes within the first 20 minutes. Teddy Purcell would get the scoring under way not even two minutes in. It was first of three goals on the night for Purcell and it was his first hat trick of his career. Martin St. Louis would then add two consecutive goals to give his team a 3-0 lead with the game being barely eight minutes old. Power play goals from Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier would close out Tampa’s scoring in the period.
Even though the final score was ugly, you have to tip your cap to the Coyotes. Trailing 5-0 after the first period and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Coyotes could have easily given up and things could have gotten uglier than they already were. However, Phoenix played even hockey with Tampa Bay during the final 40 minutes. The Coyotes actually outshot the Lightning by two and were even in the scoring department. Martin Hanzal, Kyle Turris and David Schlemko were the three that got the Coyotes goals. The goal for Schlemko was only his second of his career.
The Coyotes will get a much needed day off on Thursday before playing in Columbus on Friday night against the Blue Jackets. The puck will drop at 5 p.m. Arizona time.