GLENDALE, Ariz. – Connor Murphy had a memorable NHL debut.
The Phoenix Coyotes defenceman was thrust into action only a day after being called up from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.
The 20-year-old was so new that he still had a Pirates shaving kit bag in his locker room stall.
Murphy’s first career NHL goal was one of six for the Coyotes in a 6-3 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.
It was the Lightning’s first loss in eight games against Western Conference teams this season.
“I got a lot of great advice from teammates and coaches here coming into the game,” said Murphy, whose parents were in attendance on short notice. “Just trying to take that and roll with it and have fun and contribute.”
Murphy, who scored in the second period, was napping when he got the call to Arizona. It’s something he does before games.
“Just to get a morning skate in, it felt like a normal game day,” he said. “I got lucky it (his goal) went through (into the net). I think I almost broke my hand punching the ice, I was so excited.”
Martin Hanzal had a goal and three assists and Lauri Korpikoski had a goal and two assists for the Coyotes in the win.
Michael Stone, Mike Ribeiro and Shane Doan also scored for Phoenix. Radim Vrbata had three assists.
Richard Panik, J.T. Brown and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning.
“I thought everyone contributed tonight and obviously everyone was happy for Connor Murphy for getting his first goal,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “He’s such a nice kid, a great kid, so it was a great thrill for him.”
The Coyotes went 2 for 3 on the power play.
Ribeiro cleaned up a loose puck in front of Ben Bishop during a two-man advantage at 1 minute, 48 seconds of the second period to give Phoenix a 3-0 lead.
The goal ended Bishop’s evening, and Anders Lindback came on to replace him. Bishop had been undefeated in his previous six games this month with a 1.30 goals-against average. He stopped 11 of 14 shots.
Bishop later said he was hit by a puck. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the game that Bishop was fine.
“They’re not always going to be good nights, and tonight wasn’t good,” Bishop said.
The Lightning rallied, cutting the Coyotes’ lead to 3-1 on Panik’s goal at the 16:19 mark, starting a flurry of goals before the second intermission.
Panik slotted home a nifty backhand pass from teammate Tyler Johnson for the finish.
Murphy netted his goal less than a minute later. Murphy’s shot went in with Hanzal making it tough for Lindback to see the puck in front of the goal to make the score 4-1.
Brown scored his first goal of the season 50 seconds later to make it 4-2.
“Every time we thought we were seizing a little bit of momentum … we rebound to make it 3-1, then they score on the next shift,” Cooper said. “That’s unacceptable.”
Phoenix came up with the first goal of the third period, Doan scoring after Vrbata dug the puck off the boards behind the goal and passed it back. Doan’s goal was his 10th of the season.
Killorn scored for Tampa Bay to make it 5-3 at 18:58 of the third and Korpikoski added an empty-net goal for Phoenix.
The Coyotes got off to a good start with a pair of first-period goals. During their first power play, a wrist shot got past Bishop at 15:58 of the period.
Ribeiro got the assist with a long pass out to the point from the right wing. It was Stone’s third goal in two games and his sixth of the season.
Phoenix made it 2-0 less than a minute later. With both teams at full strength, Hanzal centred from the left corner. The puck hit Bishop in the back of a skate and trickled into the net with 3:05 to go in the period.
“It’s what happens sometimes, especially with me,” Hanzal said. “Sometimes it hits you in the face, or in the leg, and that’s what happened. So we’ll take the two points.”
The Lightning missed a good chance to take an early lead when the Coyotes’ David Schlemko lost the puck and Johnson skated down the ice with it on a breakaway. Johnson stumbled and his shot went wide, and he tumbled into the Phoenix net.
Phoenix improved to 9-0-1 at home this season.
NOTES: Schlemko left the game after the second period, aggravating a previous lower-body injury, Tippett said. … D Rostislav Klesla and D Zbynek Michalek did not play for the Coyotes. D Sami Salo played after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. … The Coyotes have outscored opponents 39-26 at Jobing.com Arena this season.