Tampa, Florida – Steven Stamkos is scoring and the Lightning are playing like Eastern Conference champions again.
Tampa Bay’s captain had a goal in his fourth consecutive game, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves and the Lightning won their fourth straight by beating the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“We’re getting there,” Stamkos said. “It’s a work in progress. I don’t think we can sit here and say we’re totally satisfied with our game yet. We know what this group is capable of when we’re playing at our best and I don’t think we’re at our best right now. It’s encouraging that we’re finding ways to win not being at our best. Hopefully we can continue to get better.”
Tampa Bay also got a goal from Cedric Paquette on a short-handed penalty shot. The Lightning, second in the Atlantic Division, are three points behind first-place Florida.
“We’re getting back to our roots,” coach Jon Cooper said.
Jordan Martinook had a goal and Louis Domingue stopped 34 shots for the Coyotes, who were coming off a 3-2 loss Monday night at Washington. Arizona, 10th in the Western Conference, is six points back in the race for the second wild card.
“We knew they were going to push hard early and we hung in there,” coach Dave Tippett said. “I have no problem with the way we competed. We just need to execute better and find ways to generate more chances.”
Stamkos opened the scoring with his 26th goal 12:38 into the game when he poked home a loose puck that was behind Domingue after Alex Killorn’s shot hit the post earlier in the offensive sequence.
The best streak of Stamkos’ career came in 2010, when he scored in seven consecutive games.
Tampa Bay outshot Arizona 18-8 during the first period.
Paquette made it 2-0 with 4.7 seconds left in the second. The Coyotes have allowed an NHL-high 11 short-handed goals this season. Tampa Bay has scored five times while short-handed.
Martinook cut Arizona’s deficit to 2-1 after deflecting Michael Stone’s shot at 4:06 of the third.
Martinook was hurt along the offensive-zone boards shortly after his goal and needed assistance to skate off the ice. Tippett said the left wing, who returned to bench later in the period, had a stinger and is fine.
Devils 5, Rangers 2
In Newark, New Jersey, Lee Stempniak scored late in the second period to snap a tie and the Devils ended a three-game losing streak with a win over short-handed New York.
Wings 2, Blue Jackets 1 (SO)
In Detroit, Riley Sheahan scored in a shootout and had the tying goal in the second period, helping the Red Wings beat Columbus to snap a four-game losing streak.
Hurricanes 3, Flyers 1
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Jordan Staal put the Hurricanes ahead and Eric Staal added an insurance goal late.
Predators 3, Maple Leafs 2
In Toronto, Filip Forsberg became the youngest player in franchise history to get a hat trick.
Islanders 4, Wild 1
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Frans Nielsen scored twice, John Tavares had a goal and an assist, and New York topped the Wild in a matchup of surging teams.
Stars 5, Jets 3
In Winnipeg, Jamie Benn scored twice in the third period and Dallas ended a three-game skid.
Senators 4, Oilers 1
In Edmonton, Zack Smith had a goal and an assist as Ottawa ran its winning streak to four.
Kings 2, Flames 1
In Los Angeles, Anze Kopitar got the go-ahead goal on a power play late in the second period.