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game recap

Lightning unable to gain ground in playoff race

Remain four points behind Maple Leafs for second wild card after loss to Coyotes

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the third period, and the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

Connor Murphy, Christian Fischer and Christian Dvorak also scored for the Coyotes (27-37-9), who ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1). Louis Domingue made 36 saves.

The Lightning (34-29-9) remain four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining.


WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Lightning highlights


"We're starting to run out of [games]," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That's the problem right now."

Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov scored for Tampa Bay, which went 0-3-0 on its three-game homestand. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves.

Vrbata made it 4-3 at 6:39 during a 4-on-4.

"In the position that we're in we want to be spoilers," Vrbata said. "We were down after two periods and found a way to come back. We turned it on and killed some penalties at the end to get two points."

Ekman-Larsson tied it 3-3 with his 12th goal, a slap shot from center point that beat Vasilevskiy at 4:54.

Video: ARI@TBL: Ekman-Larsson rifles one in off the post

Namestnikov made it 3-2 at 18:08 of the second period after he hit the post on a partial breakaway but the puck deflected off of Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair and into the net.

Kucherov tied it 2-2 with his 34th goal at 11:50 with a shot from the hashmark off a feed from Ondrej Palat.

Dvorak made it 2-1 at 10:06 when he finished a 2-on-1 with Max Domi.

Fischer scored his third NHL goal on his third career shot when he put in a rebound at 4:56 of the first period to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.

"[Domingue] had an unbelievable game," Fischer said. "It was a great team effort to walk out of here with two points. I couldn't be happier."

Hedman tied it 1-1 when he beat Domingue through the five-hole on a breakaway at 9:45.

Video: ARI@TBL: Hedman hustles to net breakaway chance

"I don't know what happened in the third [period]," Hedman said. "We have to be better. We had opportunities but three straight games of giving up five goals isn't going to win a lot of games."

Murphy scored an empty-net goal with the Coyotes shorthanded with 1:36 remaining to make it 5-3.

"All we had to do was defend in the third and we didn't do it," Namestnikov said. "We stopped skating, turned pucks over and goals went in."


Goal of the game

Alex Goligoski worked the puck from the corner to Vrbata, who sent a one-timer from the high slot that got past Vasilevskiy on the stick side, hit off the post and went into the net.

Video: ARI@TBL: Vrbata rips a shot by Vasilevskiy for lead


Save of the game

Domingue stopped Brayden Point on a wrist shot from close-in with 2:12 remaining in the game.

Video: ARI@TBL: Domingue kicks his pad out for a clutch save


Unsung performance of the game

Goligoski had an assist, four hits, five shots on goal and five blocks in 25:11 of ice time.


Highlight of the game

Murphy started the sequence that led to Dvorak's goal in the second period. He used his long reach to push the puck to Domi, who start the rush that ended with Dvorak beating Vasilevskiy to the far post.

Video: ARI@TBL: Dvorak, Domi team up for tally on a break


They said it

"I thought our guys were in real good spirits all day. They were loose and ready to play. We felt like we had a couple of breaks go against us. But we were just going to stick with it and see how things panned out and they turned out all right." -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett


"If you're not going to defend, you're not going to win. That's where I think the guys got to get that back inside them. You look at the stretch of 15-to-17 games prior to these three, it was 1-1, 2-1 and we won. It seems now it's got to be 6-5 or it's not fun. That's how it used to be here for a long time. We're going nowhere if that's the attitude we're going to have." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


"We're obviously disappointed with the result tonight, but we can't lay down. We can't fold. We've just got to refocus. We know we're playing Boston twice. We know they lost tonight. Still opportunities left before us, but obviously we've got to straighten things out." -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman


Need to know

The Lightning hadn't lost three consecutive home games in regulation since March 15-19, 2012. Namestnikov returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a lower-body injury. … The Coyotes have won six games when trailing after the second period. Fischer's first three NHL shots resulted in goals, he finished with four shots Tuesday. "I figured it was time to stop shooting one puck a game," Fischer said. "It's probably better to have more than one shot."


What's next

Coyotes: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Lightning: At the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, NESN, SUN, NHL.TV)


Video: Coyotes' big 3rd period downs Lightning

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