Glendale, Ariz. (CBS) Facing fatigue, injuries and the grind of back-to-back games, the Lightning needed a solid performance out of struggling goaltender Dwayne Roloson last night.
In his past 11 games, he’s posted an 0-6-1 record and spent most of his time as a spectator with Mathieu Garon stealing most of the playing time. Roloson emerged last night as the goaltender that carried his team to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, chalking up 33 saves to give the bolts their first back-to-back road victories all season.
It was Tampa Bay’s third consecutive win, and four different goal scorers stepped up offensively to give the Lightning an early lead. Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each found net during last night’s showdown.
Stamkos opened the scoring in the first with his league-leading 32nd goal of the season to make it 1-0. Purcell scored the only two goals in the previous game to get the win in Dallas, and last night he finished a rebound to pick up his 12th goal on the year.
The bolts gained the momentum early and bombarded former Lightning goaltender Mike Smith with an assortment of pressure, shots and goals. Tampa Bay managed to get off 21 shots, but they made the most out of their opportunities and scored enough goals early on to make it difficult for Phoenix to recover.
St. Louis scored 6:15 into the second to extend the Lightning lead to three. Lori Korpikowski scored the Coyote’s first goal of the night nearly midway through the second, but Smith gave up a soft goal to Downie late in the second which put the bolts in a good position heading into the second intermission.
Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney scored goals in the third to cut the deficit to one, but Roloson saved the day with some big saves to fend off the Coyote’s late onslaught.
The outcome boiled down to missed opportunities. Phoenix racked up 36 shots compared to the Lightning’s 21, but the difference in this game was the small window of opportunities that Tampa Bay capitalized on.