Tue, Nov 28, 2023 11:37 PM
By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona is in the midst of a daunting scheduling quirk, facing teams that have won the past six Stanley Cup titles in consecutive games.
The Coyotes failed on the first attempt. They've been stellar in the past two.
Michael Carcone scored twice, Connor Ingram stopped 31 shots in his second straight strong performance and the Coyotes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on Tuesday night.
“We know we can compete in every game and we also know mistakes are kind of shooting us in the foot previous games,” Carcone said. “Once you see it, you can kind of nip it in the bud I think that’s kind of being the difference here.”
Arizona started its tough six-game stretch with a sloppy 6-5 loss to St. Louis, which raised the Cup in 2019.
The Coyotes bounced back to beat reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas 2-0 on Saturday and followed it up with another strong performance against the Lightning, back-to-back champions in 2020-21.
Ingram was sharp against one of the NHL's highest-scoring teams after stopping 34 shots against Vegas for his second career shutout. He also had his second assist this season and Travis Boyd scored his first goal of the season.
That puts the Coyotes at 2-1 against recent Stanley Cup champions, with games against Colorado, St. Louis and Washington coming up.
“It's another good game and we're stacking them on top of each other,” Ingram said.
The Lightning are trending in the wrong direction.
Coming off a five-game point streak, Tampa Bay has lost two straight after dropping a 4-1 game at Colorado on Monday night.
Brayden Point scored and Jonas Johansson had 22 saves for the Lightning, who went 0 for 2 on the power play.
“If you're not getting power plays in the game, it's not going to do it for you so you have to score 5 on 5,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “It's just been tough for us.”
The teams' first meeting of the season got testy early, when Boyd and Tampa Bay's Tanner Jeannot dropped the gloves.
Carcone scored six seconds after they headed off the ice, beating Johansson through traffic from top of the right circle.
Ingram was sharp during a Tampa Bay power play midway through the second period and had an assist on the goal by Boyd, who slipped a shot from the right circle past Johansson's glove.
“They had a couple of seeing-eye pucks that went in and we just didn't have enough to come back from that,” Cooper said.
The Lightning certainly tried, picking up the offensive pressure after Boyd's goal.
Ingram stuffed Jeannot on a shot from point-blank range and did the same to Michael Eyssimont a few minutes later. Arizona's goalie had no chance when a defensive breakdown led to a 2-on-1, finished by Point on a pass from Nikita Kucherov late in the second period.
The Coyotes turned up the pressure early in the third period and Carcone cashed in, using some nifty stickhandling to beat Johansson between the pads from just outside the crease.
“He tried for a poke check and usually if the stick is swinging the five-hole's usually open, so I just tried to throw in there and it worked out,” Carcone said.
Lightning: Host Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Coyotes: Hosts Colorado on Thursday.
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