For almost the first 36 minutes of the game, not a lot happened. There were no penalties, no goals, not many shots, and maybe the occasional hit. It was very fat-paced with lots of skating and end to end action, but not much else.
Then Mattias Ritola scored his first NHL goal at 15:59 of the second period. That's when the game became more interesting. After that, the first penalties were called at 18:42 of the second period. Then in the third, the game settled down into what we've regularly seen this season thus far.
The first two periods, generally speaking, were not good for the Lightning. Their faceoff percentage was dismal. As a team, they'd only won 33% of the total faceoffs for the game. They also only had 17 shots at through two periods, which may seem fairly normal, but they'd been in the mid-20s through two periods for most of the season. So shot totals were definitely down.
After Steven Stamkos scored the game's third Lightning goal - his ninth of the season - things started to get a bit hairy. There was simply too much time being spent in the Lightning's own defensive zone. Frankly, it was amazing that Dan Ellis ended the game with a shutout.
The second Lightning goal was scored by Adam Hall. And despite the fact that Phoenix dominated statistically for two periods of the game, the statistics at the end were remarkably even. Both teams had 23 shots on goal, hits were 28-24 Phoenix, and faceoffs were 50-50 overall.
The next Tampa Bay Lightning game is on Wednesday, 3 November, at the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is 10 pm Eastern. If you're on the East Coast and plan on staying up to watch the game, don't forget to lay in a store of caffeine.
Lightning vs Coyotes coverage [SB Nation]
Five For Howling [SB Nation Phoenix Coyotes site]