Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Review: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes halt the Tampa Bay Lightning’s undefeated record against Western Conference teams to 7-1, as the ‘Yotes win big at home 6-3 against the travelling Bolts.

It was the most goals the Lightning have allowed a team to score on them all season.

Whatever game plan the Lightning (14-6-0) brought with them on the ice last night, it appears it was never really clicking from the get-go, while Phoenix seemed at home (literally and figuratively) with its strategy.

The Lightning was swimming upstream the entire game.

I did the whole Lightning Radio Network thing last night in order to enjoy the Bolts facing off against the Coyotes for the first time this season (since the game was unfortunately not televised in my region).

That’s the first time I’ve done the radio thing for a Lightning game since the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers during the Stanley Cup winning season.

I have to say that Dave Mishkin makes it a lot of fun but it was hard for me to make out much of how the Lightning was playing, being that I’m so used to VISUALLY seeing them play.  But it sure didn’t sound good.

The first period was horrific (poor Ben Bishop).  I seriously hope he shakes this game off and that whatever sidelined him for a bit wasn’t anything serious to affect his ability to play.  The last thing the Lightning need is “The Bish” out for the count.

I did enjoy how genuinely upset Mish gets when the refs suck (which they appeared to do in great quantities last night), and why the officials weren’t recording at least three shots (by his count) as shots.  That was the best part, besides his now iconic delivery of “score” whenever the Bolts scored a goal.

“SCOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRREEEEEEE!”

Didn’t get to hear that nearly enough in the first period, or the whole game really, as the Coyotes blew out to an early 2-0 lead almost by magic it seems (if you’re listening to it on the radio it almost seems that way) at the tail end of the first period, and never relinquished the lead the whole game.  Nor did the Lightning do much in the way of threatening it.

Michael Stone (15:58 PPG) and Martin Hanzal (16:55) scored their goals less than a minute apart, and I think that whenever that happens to Tampa Bay (read: Bruins, who have a knack for stringing multiple goals together after long periods of scoreless hockey) it really seems to sap the life from the team.

The Lightning have poor reactionary skills when teams do this to them it seems, and last night was no different.

Things picked up in the second period for the Lightning, as Richard Panik (16:19) scored his first goal of the year, followed by J.T. Brown (17:55), who scored the first goal of his career in the NHL.

Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Teddy Purcell, and Andrej Sustr recorded assists on the two second period goals.

Phoenix was able to add two more goals in the second  as well (Mike Ribeiro, 1:48 and Connor Murphy, 17:05, his first NHL goal in his first NHL game) to keep things “uneven” for the Bolts as the ‘Yotes led 4-2 going into the second intermission.

After the Ribeiro goal, Bishop was pulled from net, but not seemingly from the allowed goals.  It was later reported that Bishop’s collar bone had been struck by a puck during a save.  He would later be seen back on the Lightning bench and appearing in good health.  So that’s a good sign.

Anders Lindback would step in-between the pipes for Tampa Bay and remain there for the rest of the game.

Shane Doan added further insult to injury in the third period by giving Phoenix even more of a cushion at 1:37, putting the Coyotes up 5-2.

This goal alone seemed to take all the wind from Tampa Bay’s sails.  Whatever momentum the Bolts were building up during the final intermission, after Panik and Brown’s goals in the second period, seemed to vanish for much of the time that remained in the game.

With the game clock trailing down to its final “tocks”, the Lightning pulled Lindback for the sixth skater advantage.

Capitalizing with a late game goal by Killorn (18:58), off a tip-in from Marty St. Louis; assisted by Sustr again, his second of the night.

Lauri Korpikoski scored an empty net goal with 19 seconds still remaining in the game to seal the coffin firmly shut on a Lightning comeback.

The Bolts next travel to Hollywood for game two of their four-game west coast road trip exploration of the hyper-competitive Pacific Division.

Tampa Bay will face the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 19 for the second time this season (having won the last meeting 5-1 at home on Oct.15) without their star goalie Jonathan Quick, who is out with a groin muscle strain.

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Tags: NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

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