Tonight, the Lightning were hoping to clean up some of the defensive problems that had recently crept into their play. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The Lightning had issues with puck management, defensive zone coverage, rush coverage, and penalty killing.
Those problems didn't surface until the latter part of the first period, though. As they did in Vegas on Thursday, the Lightning had a good start. They were clean in moving pucks up the ice and used their speed to create several good looks in the offensive zone. An unguarded Anthony Cirelli scored the opening tally from in front of the net at 3:53. But the Lightning weren't able to add to the lead and, as the period wound down, their attention to detail slipped. Taylor Hall had one chance off the rush and later, a near breakaway (the puck skipped over his stick). Carl Soderberg had an in-alone shot on Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made a lunging save. The Coyotes built momentum off those looks and eventually scored two goals late in the frame.
It's true that in the second period, the Lightning netted two goals off the rush and rallied from what was a 3-1 deficit at the time. But they never settled down defensively (losing Erik Cernak to an injury in the period compounded matters). Arizona grabbed the lead back less than a minute after Brayden Point had tied the game. The Coyotes posted 18 second period shots, many of which were dangerous.
Taking that 4-3 lead into the third, the Coyotes effectively locked things down. Unlike earlier in the game, the Lightning had trouble generating scoring chances. Clayton Keller's goal off the rush with 8:09 left provided Arizona with an insurance tally and the Coyotes added two more before the night was done.
It's just the second time this season that the Lightning have dropped consecutive games in regulation. They'll look to shore things up defensively and get back on track when they open a five-game homestand on Tuesday against Toronto.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1. Conor Garland - Coyotes. Two goals and assist.
2. Clayton Keller - Coyotes. Two goals and assist.
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Coyotes. Assist.