GLENDALE, Ariz. – This was a game Dwayne Roloson needed.
The goalie who carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Eastern Conference finals last year hadn’t won since Nov. 17 against Pittsburgh.
Roloson made 33 saves in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 victory over Phoenix on Saturday night to improve to 7-10-2.
“The win is nice, but it’s more important for the team that we won,” he said. “All around, we had a strong effort. (Tuesday night at home against Columbus) we need to play another solid 60 minutes of hockey.”
Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 32nd goal, Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each had a goal and an assist, and the Lightning won their third straight.
Teddy Purcell also scored for Tampa Bay.
For most of the season, Roloson has watched and Mattieu Garon has stopped pucks in the Tampa Bay net. Against Phoenix, coach Guy Boucher turned to the 42-year-old Roloson.
“(Rolson) is a fighter and I will not prevent him from fighting,” Boucher said. “Plus, our guys scored enough to make the win happen for (Roloson).”
Lauri Korpikoski, Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney scored for Phoenix. The Coyotes have one win in their last seven games. After Tampa Bay took a 4-1 lead, Yandle and Whitney scored in the third for Phoenix, but the Coyotes could get no closer.
“You need to capitalize on opportunities, and we didn’t do that,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “We had several good shots but many went over the net or up on the glass. We need to make sure these count.”
Stamkos opened the scoring with 7:58 left in the first. Positioned to the right of goalie Mike Smith, Stamkos slammed in a perfect pass from St. Louis.
“For us right now, every win is a big win,” Stamkos said. “We played the night before and got in late. We were tired, but it was nice to see the guys rebound.”
Purcell, coming off a two-goal game Friday night in a 2-1 victory in Dallas, made it 2-0 with 4:21 left in the period, scoring off a rebound.
St. Louis made it 3-0 at 6:15 of the second, skating around Mikkel Boedker and beating Smith.
Korpikoski countered with a short-handed goal at 8:29, but Downie made it 4-1 with 3:21 left in the period.
NOTES: Linesman Vaughan Rody left the game with 4:54 in the first period. He was struck in the face with a puck, but returned at the start of the season period. … Phoenix D Derek Morris left the game in the first period because of an upper-body injury. He didn’t return.