Coyotes take down Lightning in shootout
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Phoenix Coyotes went extra time to get a much needed victory.
Radim Vrbata scored the lone shootout goal to lead the Coyotes past the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Monday night.
Vrbata beat Ben Bishop with a backhander, and Mike Smith stopped all three Lightning attempts in the shootout.
Brandon McMillan, Martin Erat and Mikkel Boedker scored in regulation for the Coyotes, who trail the eighth-place Stars by one point in the Western Conference. Phoenix was coming off a 3-2 loss Saturday at Washington, a game which the Capitals had three unanswered third-period goals.
"We’re right in the hunt," Smith said. "We’re in the thick of things, too, and every point matters right now. So I think you see a desperation from guys on the ice, lying down, blocking shots."
Ondrej Palat got the Lightning even at 3-all with his second goal of the game, a one-timer from the low slot with the Tampa Bay net empty and 37.2 seconds left in regulation. Palat also had an assist.
"I thought we did a lot of things well tonight," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Even though they got a late one on us, we found a way to get points, and that’s the biggest thing about our season right now. We need points every night."
Tampa Bay, 1-4-2 since the Olympic break ended, also got a goal from Tyler Johnson.
Erat scored following an errant defensive zone pass by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman 2:13 into the third, as Bishop ended up out of position when Hedman’s pass on Erat’s goal took a bad bounce. Boedker put the Coyotes ahead 3-2 with a rebound goal at 7:48.
"We were just way too lackadaisical," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said of Erat’s goal. "The third one, we’ve run that coverage a thousand times. It’s a blown assignment. Those don’t go in in midget hockey, let alone the NHL. Or they shouldn’t, anyway."
Palat gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead from in close off a pass from Ryan Callahan with 52.3 seconds left in the second.
Johnson scored his fourth short-handed goal and 20th overall this season to put the Lightning up 1-0 at 11:26 of the first. With Steven Stamkos off for hooking, the rookie went around stumbling defenseman Keith Yandle and put a backhander over Smith’s glove.
After not having a short-handed goal last season, Tampa Bay has nine in 2013-14. The Lightning have a short-handed goal in three straight games and six of their past 15.
McMillan tied it at 1 on a rebound goal 61 seconds into the second after Bishop stopped Yandle’s shot.
Tampa Bay defenseman Sami Salo left after three shifts in the first period with a lower body injury. Stamkos was pointless in his third straight game since returning from a broken right shin that sidelined him for 45 games.
"It’s going to take him a little time to get back to normal," Cooper said.
Stamkos played 23:31 and had two shots.
NOTES: Phoenix C Martin Hanzal has resumed skating, but he missed his fourth consecutive game with a lower-body injury. He had a goal and three assists in the Coyotes’ 6-3 victory over the Lightning on Nov. 16. … Coyotes D David Schlemko (lower body injury) is returning to Phoenix for treatment. … Coyotes D Brandon Gormley made his NHL debut.