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Abysmal defense leads to ugly Lightning defeat in Arizona.

After winning eleven games in a row, the Lightning winning streak ended in Las Vegas. The Bolts looked to get back to winning ways against the Coyotes, but defensive play would be their downfall. It is never easy to lose two in a row after such an amazing winning streak, but it is nowhere near time to press the panic button in Tampa Bay.

Arizona is a team that struggles to score goals while Tampa Bay usually has a high flying offense on the ice consistently. Tonight would see the Coyotes offense come to life and pick apart the Lightning defense. Tampa Bay’s offense, on the other hand,  was silent when the team needed them the most.

Wild first to start the game

The first moments of the game started off quiet, but that soon changed as Tampa Bay got on the board first. Anthony Cirelli fired the puck past Antti Raanta 3:53 into the first period to make it 1-0. Cirelli was given a solid feed from Alex Killorn to score with ease. The lead would not last as the Coyotes answered back late in the first period to the the game 1-1. Conor Garland fired a wrist shot that would pass by Andrei Vasilevskiy for the equalizer. Coyotes would not stop there as Clayton Keller would score nearly a minute later late in the first to give the Coyotes the 2-1 lead. The Tampa Bay defense did not play well to end the period, and this would continue on as the game progressed.

Defense begins to falter

Arizona would keep the scoring going as Carl Soderberg scored unassisted on the power play 5:51 in the second period. The puck unfortunately bounced off Yanni Gourde’s stick and found its way past Vasilevskiy for the goal. Minutes later, Ondrej Palat would answer back with a goal of his own to put Tampa Bay within 1 of Arizona. The Lightning then drew even with a wrist shot from Brayden Point 10:11 in the second.

Point’s 22nd goal of the season knotted things up at 3 a piece, but the lead would be short lived. Brad Richardson answered back with a goal to once again give Arizona the lead at 4-3. The remainder of the second period remained scoreless, but the abysmal play of the Lightning defense gave the Coyotes a chance to gain momentum and take control of the game.

A period to eradicate from existence

The third period would be one that the Lightning would like to forget. Tampa Bay’s defense would continue to be non-existent as Arizona ran away with the game. The Lightning offense could not find a way to break past Raanta as they were unable to score in the final period. Arizona would get goals from Clayton Keller, Garland, and Derek Stepan to humiliate the Lightning with a final score of 7-3. Tampa Bay did challenge the second goal by Garland for possible goalie interference, however, the goal would still count. This loss was one that the team would like to forget, but on the bright side Tampa Bay returns home Tuesday to host a struggling Toronto Maple Leafs team.

Three Stars of the Game

1st Star: Conor Garland – 2 goals and 1 assist

2nd Star: Clayton Keller – 2 goals

3rd Star: Ilya Lyubushkin – 1 assist and 3 hits

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