Preview: Lightning at Blues
The reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues have cooled off after a seven-game winning streak and look to get back on track when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. The Blues are 0-1-2 in their past three games after suffering a 4-1 setback against visiting Anaheim on Saturday as they went 0-for-4 on the power play and could not get a positive result despite a 38-25 edge in shots.
“I don’t think we had the energy that we needed to have the last couple games,” St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo (99 career goals) told reporters after Saturday’s setback. “I think we could have played a little but smarter tonight. It’s always tough on the second of back-to-backs. We kind of gave them everything they got.” The Blues beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning twice last season, including a 4-3 triumph at home, and hope to maintain their position atop the Central Division after managing only five goals combined in the last three contests. Tampa Bay strung three victories together, including a nine-goal explosion against the New York Rangers, before suffering a 4-3 loss versus Winnipeg at home Saturday despite captain Steven Stamkos’ 400th career tally. “Everything goes in the other night against New York and I thought we had some good quality chances (Saturday), the goalie made some good saves, hit a couple posts,” Stamkos told reporters. “. … Obviously, the urgency picked up at the end when we were down, but maybe a case of too little, too late.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (9-6-2): Stamkos became the first player in franchise history to reach 400 goals and told reporters: “You never envision scoring that many goals in the NHL. Hopefully a lot more to come. Would have been nicer in a win, but nice to get it out of the way, too, and focus on the next game.” Stamkos has two goals and six assists during a five-game point streak and leads the team with 20 points - two more than Nikita Kucherov (six goals). Former Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman (16 points) has picked up his production with two goals and five assists over the past four games.
ABOUT THE BLUES (12-4-5): Forward Klim Kostin, the 31st pick in the 2017 draft, matched a game high with four hits and added two shots in 11 minutes, 45 seconds during his NHL debut Saturday. Left wing David Perron and center Ryan O’Reilly lead a balanced offense with 19 points while forward Brayden Schenn (18), Pietrangelo (17) and left wing Jaden Schwartz (16) are also contributing. Jordan Binnington (9-3-4, 2.40 goals-against average, .919 save percentage) allowed three goals on 74 shots with a shutout against Tampa Bay last season and has given 12 goals in his past six starts overall.
1. Tampa Bay D Kevin Shattenkirk, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Blues, has eight points in his last six games.
2. St. Louis C Oskar Sundqvist avoided a suspension for charging Anaheim G John Gibson, but was fined $7,392.47.
3. Lightning LW Ondrej Palat (198 assists) needs one goal to reach 100 for his career.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Lightning 2