TAMPA BAY-- Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves & center Steven Stamkos scored his 384th career goal leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. With the win, Tampa Bay clinched the President's Trophy for the first time in franchise history.
Tampa Bay entered the game looking to avenge a 7-1 loss at Arizona in October. While the Coyotes were looking to add to their one point lead for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. And it was the visitors who jumped out on top first after a turnover by Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta in their own zone. Coyotes center Christian Dvorak was able to grab .snapped a wrist shot past Vasilevskiy for his 14th goal of the year.
Less than two minutes after the Coyotes took their 1-0 lead, there was history in the building. Lighting defenseman Ryan McDonagh took a pass from forward J.T.Miller & from the point shot a puck towards the net that Stamkos redirected past goalie Darcy Kuemper. The goal for Stamkos, his 36th this season, was also his 384th career goal, which made the Lightning captain the franchise leader in goals, breaking the previous record held by Vincent Lecavalier. Stamkos needed just 737 games to set the new record.
The first period ended tied at one but not before the Coyotes forward Michael Grabner had a great scoring chance right in front of the Lightning net. But Vasilevskiy was able to make a pad save on Grabner's shot.
After a first period where the two teams were separated by just one shot on goal, most of the action in the second period was inside the blue lines, as both teams kept the other from penetrating too deep into their own zone. And the Coyotes made a consistent effort to limit the amount of space the Lightning, the league's highest scoring team, had to operate.
Both teams registered 10 shots on goal in the second period. But at the start of the third, Tampa Bay got the puck deep into the Arizona zone. And after some good board work by Miller, forward Alex Killorn got a shot on net that was stopped by Kuemper. But Lightning center Anthony Cirelli jumped on a loose puck in front of the goalie & slid a pass over to a rushing Victor Hedman. And the Lightning defenseman who jumped into the play from the point, snapped the puck into the net for his 10th goal of the season. The goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead & also gave the team 11 players with at least 10 goals.
Down a goal, Arizona got a power play chance with less than two minutes left in the game after Stamkos was called for a delay of the game penalty. But after pulling their goalie to have a two man advantage, the Coyotes allowed two shorthanded empty net goals, the first by Cirelli & the last one by forward Yanni Gourde, his second empty net goal in the last two games.
The win clinched Tampa Bay's first President's Trophy, which is given to the team that leads the league in points for the season.
Tampa Bay will hit the road, playing three road games in a four day span, starting with a match-up on Wednesday night in Washington against the Capitals. Coverage begins on News Radio WFLA at 7pm with puck drop scheduled for 7:30pm.
1. ARI- Keller 14th Goal (Dvorak, Panik)- 5:03
2. TBL- Stamkos 36th Goal (McDonagh, Miller)- 6:54
1. TBL- Hedman 10th Goal (Cirelli, Killorn)- 0:44
2. TBL- SHG- Cirelli 15th Goal (Unassisted)- 19:15
3. TBL- SHG- Gourde 20th Goal (Vasilevskiy)- 19:51
1. TBL- Killorn (Slashing 2 Mins)- 9:44
1. ARI- Panik (Cross-checking 2 Mins)- 6:18
2. TBL- Paquette (Roughing 2 Mins)- 6:18
3. ARI- Galchenyuk (Hooking 2 Mins)- 8:50
4. TBL- Stamkos (Delay Of Game-Pck Over Glass 2 Mins)- 18:21