Todd Fedoruk used the familiarity of his former team to his advantage.
Fedoruk recorded his third point in as many games with a goal at 16:07 in the second period, but Phoenix held on to a one-goal lead throughout the final 20 minutes to seal its sixth straight win with a 2-1 victory over the Bolts on Tuesday at the St. Pete Times Forum.
“I think everyone’s playing well and trying hard, we’re just not getting those goals,” defenseman Mike Lundin said. “We’ve gotten good goaltending and good team defense to keep them off the board, but we’re having trouble scoring.”
Antero Niittymaki stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Lightning, 11-5-2 in their last 18 at home, while not allowing more than two goals for the 12th time in his last 16 starts.
Vernon Fiddler and Matthew Lombardi scored a goal each in the first period for the Coyotes, who matched a franchise single-season record with their 43rd win.
“Anytime you can get a record is great,” Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said. “It’s great for the players and it’s something they’ll have in their back pocket for the rest of their lives hopefully, but we’re more about playing well than records. We want to do the things that make us a better team every night.”
Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 27 saves and won his 37th game of the season, second in the league to only the Devils’ Martin Brodeur.
“Bryz [Bryzgalov] played well, the defense played well and we found a way to get two points,” Fiddler said. “He stood on his head and made some good saves.”
Fiddler scored the game’s first goal with his seventh of the season after taking a centering pass from Lee Stempniak for a 1-0 lead at 7:56 in the first period. Niittymaki initially stopped the puck, but lost control as it found its way into the back of the net.
Lombardi made it 2-0 on a breakaway, pushing the puck five hole through the pads of Niittymaki.
“I thought our first period was pretty strong,” Tippett added. “We came out and did well in the period and got a little bit of a lead there.”
Brandon Bochenski skated up the middle and through three defenders in the slot before backhanding a pass on the end of the stick of Fedoruk, who tipped the puck over the glove of Bryzgalov to cut the deficit to one in the final minutes of the second.
Bryzgalov faced back-to-back Lightning power plays in the third period, but held strong and turned away several scoring opportunities in the final two periods to earn his fifth straight win.
“We’ve scored two goals in the last two games and when you’re not scoring goals and looking at our stats, you better go in front of the net,” Tampa Bay head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I’m not questioning guys’ courage. You have to have courage to go in front of the net and you have to have courage to go back in your own end and take a hit to make a play in the corner. That’s courage.”
“It’s tough, but you can’t give up,” Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin added. “It’s frustrating, but we’ve got to keep going. We’re not playing terrible, we’re just not getting results. We’ve got to find a way here to get hot.”
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