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Lecavalier helps Lightning keep streak alive

by Brian Compton /
With only one goal in his last eight games, it was only a matter of time before Vincent Lecavalier got back on track.

He did at the expense of the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.

Lecavalier scored twice and added an assist and Mike Smith made 30 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their points streak to six games with a 4-1 win at Arena. Tampa Bay is 4-0-2 during this impressive stretch.

Lecavalier gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 5:59 into the game, when his backhander from the right circle found its way past Jason LaBarbera, who stopped only 15 of 19 shots.  

''They weren't beautiful goals at all, just shots on net going in,'' Lecavalier said. ''They've been tough to get this year.''

Alex Tanguay made it 2-0 with 4:16 left in the first. With the Lightning on a 5-on-3 power play, Tanguay gobbled up Ryan Malone's rebound and quickly fired it home for his fourth goal of the season.

Adrian Aucoin scored the lone goal for the Coyotes in the final minute of the opening period, but Martin St. Louis restored Tampa Bay's two-goal lead via the power play as he put in his own rebound at 4:30 of the second.

''Those guys are the backbone of this team,'' Smith said of Lecavalier and St. Louis. ''When they're contributing offensively it's tough for this team to lose.''

Lecavalier put the game away with his second goal of the night at the 11:46 mark of the third period. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Phoenix played the majority of the game down one defenseman after Jim Vandermeer was handed a game misconduct late in the first period for his boarding penalty on Kurtis Foster. Vandermeer also received a five-minute major on the play.

"I thought we had a lot of guys play very hard," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said after his team lost for the fifth time in seven games. "They had big players capitalize on their chances. That's just the game."

The Coyotes, who were already without injured blueliners Zbynek Michalek, Kurt Sauer and Ed Jovanovski, also lost forward Peter Mueller late in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury. He did not return.

"Throughout the whole game, we played pretty good 5-on-5," Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle said. "We just gave them too many opportunities. Pretty much the whole first period, we played on the PK. That's not our type of game."

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.
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