TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Nikolai Khabibulin claims he gets no extra satisfaction from beating his former team. True or not, he certainly seems to play well against them.
Khabibulin made 20 saves for his fourth win against Phoenix and Martin St. Louis and Jassen Cullimore scored 25 seconds apart in the second period as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Coyotes 5-1 Thursday night.
Since being acquired from the Coyotes on Mar. 5, 2001, Khabibulin has allowed three goals in the four victories over Phoenix.
“I think he has real good stats against quite a few teams,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “Quietly, deep inside himself, maybe he does have that type of motivation. Any kind of motivation a player can get to get them ready, you want it.”
Khabibulin has given up two goals on 51 shots this season, helping Tampa Bay start the season with consecutive wins.
“It’s been quite a long time now since I got traded,” Khabibulin said. “I guess it’s always nice to beat your old team, but you don’t get any more points for it.”
St. Louis put the Lightning up 2-1 from the left circle during a power-play at 8:07. Cullimore made it a two-goal game on a close-in shot at 8:32.
“I thought we had a good second period and we didn’t sit back in the third,” St. Louis said.
Brad Lukowich scored his first goal in 71 games for Tampa Bay. His previous goal came in last year’s season opener—against Florida.
Mike Johnson had the Phoenix goal. The Coyotes were trying to open the season with four straight wins for the first time in franchise history.
“You know what the moral of the story really is? Five-goal games we’re not going to win,” Phoenix coach Bob Francis said. “We’re not going to get into a shootout with anybody. I guarantee you that.”
Lukowich made it 1-0 by beating Phoenix backup goaltender Brian Boucher from the top of the left circle at 6:44 of the first.
Sean Burke, who allowed just two goals in the Coyotes’ first three games, was given the night off.
Phoenix tied it at 1 on Johnson’s first-period power-play goal at 18:33. He has eight goals in 12 games against Tampa Bay.
The goal came just after Tampa Bay’s fourth consecutive power play in the third period ended.
Phoenix LW Ladislav Nagy injured his groin during the morning skate anddid not play. … Johnson’s goal was the 100th of his career.