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Published January 22, 2017
Nineteen-year-old Christian Fischer scored in his first NHL game and the Arizona Coyotes dominated for the first two periods to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 on Saturday night.
Radim Vrbata tied a career best with four points — a goal and three assists — for the Coyotes, who snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the third time in their last 16 games. Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder each had a goal and two assists for Arizona.
One of Hanzal's assists came on Michael Stone's power-play goal an instant after Arizona's 5-on-3 advantage ended.
Cedric Paquette, Vladislav Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat scored for the Lightning, losers of eight of their last 10.
Arizona goalie Mike Smith had 45 saves and is 5-0-2 in games when he saved 40 or more shots.
The Lightning outshot the Coyotes 48-23.
Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop was lifted after allowing five goals in two periods and finished with 12 saves in 48 minutes. His replacement Andrei Vasilevskiy saved all six shots he faced.
Arizona took a lead it never relinquished when, from a tough angle just to the left of the goal, Rieder slipped a shot just between Bishop's stick and the post 8:05 into the game. Less than two minutes later, Vrbata got a shot, also just to Bishop's right, and it was 2-0.
Paquette's goal with 1:21 left in the first cut the lead to 2-1 entering the second period.
Stone's power-play goal made it 3-1, and Fischer, just up from Tucson of the American Hockey League, redirected a shot over Bishop's stick to make it 4-1.
The Coyotes blew open a 5-1 lead when Hanzal scored 16 seconds before the end of the second period.
Tampa Bay rallied for two goals in the third period but got no closer.
Notes: The five goals tied the season high for Arizona. ... Fischer scored 16 goals in 32 games with Tucson. ... Fischer is the 11th player with a goal in his first game in Coyotes history. ... Vrbata has 130 career multipoint games. ... Arizona's only other five-goal game was Oct. 27 at Philadelphia. ... Lightning have allowed five or more goals in three of their last 10 games. ... Tampa Bay is 1-3 so far on a six-game road trip.
Lightning: Tampa Bay is at Chicago on Tuesday night.
Coyotes: Arizona returns home to play Florida Monday night.