GLENDALE, Ariz. — Saturday was a night of firsts and worsts for the Lightning as they fell to the Coyotes 7-3.
The seven goals are they most they have given up this season, and the four-goal deficit matches their worst loss of the year (6-2 to the Avalanche on Oct. 19).
“It’s extremely disappointing. We’re a much better team than them,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Tampa Bay (40-17-5) has lost its past two games, its first consecutive regulation losses since Nov. 17 and 19 to Winnipeg and St. Louis.
As if that list wasn’t bad enough, the Lightning’s injury issues also got worse. Cedric Paquette and Mitchell Stephens missed the game with lower-body injuries, and then Erik Cernak was hurt during the game. Coyotes forward Taylor Hall fell on the back of one of the defenseman’s leg, appearing to bend the leg backward.
With Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta on injured reserve, the Lightning are now without three of their top four defensemen.
“We’ve been battling injuries for a long time now, and I think we’ve done a great job overcoming that,” Victor Hedman said. “Bottom line is that we have to play better and not give up this many goals and be better as a team."
Anthony Cirelli opened scoring in the first period 3:53 in, starting a streaky game. Arizona answered with the next three goals, over the end of the first period and the start of the second. The Lightning tied it with goals from Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point in the second period.
The Coyotes scored four unanswered from there.
The teams combined for three goals in 2 minutes, 19 seconds of the second period, a stretch that ended up Arizona up 4-3.
Cameron Gaunce, a defenseman who started the game at forward but finished at the blue line, had two assists for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 shots but also gave up all seven goals.
Clayton Keller and Conor Garland each had two goals and an assist for the Coyotes.
Keller’s goal on a breakaway at 11:51 of the third period gave Arizona a 5-3 advantage. Garland added a power-play goal at 14:28, and Derek Stepan scored with 1:14 to play. The goal total was the highest of the season for the Coyotes.
Carl Soderberg and Brad Richardson also scored, and Hall had two assists for Arizona. Antti Raanta made 27 saves.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Cirelli 15 (Killorn, Gaunce), 3:53. 2, Arizona, Garland 21 (Ekman-Larsson, Lyubushkin), 17:36. 3, Arizona, Keller 14 (Goligoski, Stepan), 18:46. Penalties—None.
Second Period—4, Arizona, Soderberg 15, 5:51 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Palat 15 (Gourde, Gaunce), 8:45. 6, Tampa Bay, Point 22 (Stamkos, Kucherov), 10:11. 7, Arizona, Richardson 5 (Hall), 11:04. Penalties—Sergachev, TB (Tripping), 3:59; Gaunce, TB (Holding), 16:54.
Third Period—8, Arizona, Keller 15 (Crouse), 11:51. 9, Arizona, Garland 22 (Hall, Schmaltz), 14:28 (pp). 10, Arizona, Stepan 10 (Keller, Garland), 18:46. Penalties—Kucherov, TB (Tripping), 7:17; Oesterle, Ari (Interference), 7:51; Hedman, TB (Holding), 14:09; Tampa Bay bench, served by Verhaeghe (Delay of Game), 14:28.
Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-11-9_30. Arizona 11-18-12_41.
Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 1; Arizona 2 of 5.
Goalies—Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 32-11-3 (41 shots-34 saves). Arizona, Raanta 14-14-3 (30-27).
A—14,825 (17,125). T—2:30.
Referees—Brad Meier, Francois St Laurent. Linesmen—Trent Knorr, Kiel Murchison.