Tampa Bay Lightning Game 18: at the Phoenix Coyotes

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1.

Because of the time difference – and having to wake up for work this morning – I was only able to watch the first two periods of this game. The three guys who have had problems scoring this season scored all of the goals on the night, and the guy that’s been struggling in net won the game. And, most importantly, they did all of this in regulation time.

Vincent Lecavalier opened and ended the scoring, breaking his eight-game goalless streak, and scoring his third and fourth goals of the season. Martin St. Louis broke his 13-game goalless streak with his fourth goal of the season. And Alex Tanguay also scored his fourth goal of the season.

Seem to be a lot of fourth goals being scored there. Strange. Mike Smith bucks that number four-trend with getting his third win of the season in a solid game for him.

Statistically, however, the Lightning lagged behind Phoenix in most categories. They were outshot 31-19. They only won 46% of their faceoffs – Steven Stamkos being the worst winning 2-11 (15%), while Zenon Konopka being the best winning 8-5 (62%). I would guess that the wrist that Stamkos jammed in practice last week is bothering him more than he’s been admitting.

They were out-hit 27-24. The usual suspects were throwing themselves around for the Lightning: birthday boy Stephane Veilleux and Andrej Meszaros both had three hits. Stamkos, a bit surprisingly, also had three hits as well.

Another surprising stat on the night was blocked shots. With Mattias Ohlund out with one of those ambiguous "lower body" injuries (he was reportedly wearing a supportive boot, however), some other players took up his slack. Interestingly enough, those two players were Ryan Malone and Lecavalier (two blocked shots each). That’s not exactly what you want from those guys, especially since blocking shots puts a player in a more likely position to get injured. But it is admirable that they were willing to sacrifice their bodies to help the defense and Smith out.

One more statistic of interest – the team is only carrying 21 players on this Western road trip. And one of those players, and previously mentioned, is the injured Ohlund. They’re allowed to have a 23-man roster. However, Matt Smaby and Ryan Craig were sent down to the AHL team in Norfolk on conditioning assignments – presumably because Tocchet and his staff didn’t anticipate that they’d be played these two games.

Overall, this was a great team effort. It was a solid game by everyone, and the big names were contributing like people have expected them to. It was an easy and confident win for a team that really needed one. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of something good for them.

The next game is against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, 19 November. Since it’s in SoCal (Southern California, for you non-West Coasters), it will be a 10 pm ET start. Ugh.

Let’s all take a moment and be thankful that most of the Lightning’s games are in the Eastern Time zone, okay?

Highlights (from NHL.TV)