Stamkos leads Lightning to fourth straight win

Posted at 10:44 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 00:24:18-05

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.

NOTES: Arizona RW Shane Doan played in his 1,445th NHL game, one shy of tying Tim Horton for 24th place. ... Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov, second on the team with 24 goals, missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Tampa Bay played its 1,800th regular-season game. ... Stamkos played his 552nd game with the Lightning, tying Brad Richards for fourth place in franchise history. ... Tampa Bay C Valtteri Filppula played in his 700th NHL game.