Blues Sweep Lighting, SOB Line Back In Action


The St. Louis Blues (36-15-4) defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting (34-17-6) 6-3 on Thursday night in Tampa Bay, Florida.  This was the second of their two regular season meetings.  Their last meeting earlier this month resulted in a 2-1 overtime win for the Blues.  The Blues entered tonight’s game following a 2-1 win over Arizona on Tuesday.  Tampa Bay lost their last game 3-2 in overtime against the Nashville Predators.

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This win was not only great for morale, but was a big step in moving through the standings.  The Blues trail the Nashville Predators by two points for the lead in the Central Division.  The third place team, the Chicago Blackhawks, have fallen six points behind.  This gives the Blues some breathing room.

Prior to the game, the Blues and Lightning were tied for third place in the league.  This win puts them ahead of the Lightning by two point and now only one point away from the Anaheim Ducks who hold second behind the Predators.


The game started with the teams exchanging strong shots.  Right away, at 1:50, T.J. Oshie took a shot from the slot and scored high to put the Blues up 1-0 with a power play goal.  Alexander Steen earned the sole assist.  Following the goal, the Blues kept play in the Lighting zone.

Feb 12, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing T.J. Oshie (74) is congratulated by teammates after he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At 4:22 Mark Barberio went to the box for playing with a broken stick.  Then at 4:47 Dmitrij Jaskin took a pass from Steen and scored low from the slot to extend the Blues’ lead to 2-0.  After six minutes, the Blues led in shots 8-1.  Then at 8:41 Ondrej Palat was charged with tripping.

The Blues did a very good job of keeping the puck in the Lighting zone but were unable to score.  Then at 11:03 Tampa Bay had a power play chance after Jaskin was called for hooking.  However at 12:20, Brett Connolly took a slashing penalty.  This gave the Blues 1:12 of power play time but they were unable to make it work.  The Blues ended the period up by 2 with a 17-6 shot lead.

The second period started with play a little more balanced between the teams.  Tampa Bay made a strong effort which helped shorten the shot gap.  At 7:48 David Backes went to the box for interference.  Fourteen seconds later Tyler Johnson scored a power play goal to put the Lightning on the board 2-1.

After 12 minutes of play the Lighting closed the shot count to 26-15.  However at 12:15 Steen redirected a shot from Backes to score and put the Blues up 3-1.  Shortly after that, at 14:51 from behind the net, T.J. Oshie fed Backes who scored high to increase the lead 4-1.

Feb 12, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Then again, at 15:23 Paul Stastny caught a rebound from Patrik Berglund to score and extend the lead to 5-1.  The momentum couldn’t hold however and at 17:28 Connolly scored on a break to keep the Lightning alive at 5-2.  The period ended with the Blues up 5-2 and leading in shots at 34-20.

The Lightning started the third period with a fresh goaltender.  Neither team allowed many shots in the early minutes.  The stalemate broke at 6:31 however, after Steven Stamkos redirected a shot into the net to put the score at 5-3.

Following this Backes went to the box for holding.  The Blues killed the penalty and were lucky that they weren’t called for additional high sticking and too many men infractions along the way.

After thirteen minutes of play the teams only allowed 4-3 in shots in favor of the Blues.  The teams continued to battle it out as time wound down.  With 1:53 left, the Blues called a timeout.  Then in the final 1:30 Tampa Bay emptied their net.  Vladimir Tarasenko carried the puck into the zone and scored on a backhand into an empty net at 18:55 the boost the lead to 6-3.  Jaden Schwartz earned the assist.  The Lightning returned their goalie to the net.

The Blues closed out the game with a 6-3 win.


Ice Cube would agree, it was a pretty good game.  This is the Blues team that fans have been waiting to see in the wake of their recent losses.  This type of play is the reason it was easy to forgive things like the terrible 7-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets a week back.  All four lines showed up to play tonight.  Granted, some were better than others, but there was little dead weight.

Feb 12, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (20) shoots the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first line clearly led the charge with three goals and four assists between Steen, Oshie and Backes.  While Steen had his hands in the most play, it was also exciting to watch the classic stick work from Oshie that we haven’t regularly seen this season.

Backes, though, is a double-edged sword.  Despite all his production in the game, he was also the offender that put the Blues on two of their penalty kills.  One of his penalties led to a short-handed goal as well.

Backes leads the team in penalty minutes this season, with 70 after the four he earned tonight.  His total nearly doubles any other Blues player besides Ryan Reaves and Steve Ott.  However, these two are fourth line semi-enforcers.  Backes’s number is too high first line player.  This is not the type of stat the team’s Captain should have.

The penalties could have been worse as well.  Carl Gunnarson was lucky he wasn’t called for high-sticking while the Blues were already one man down during the Backes penalty in the third.  Pang and Kelly caught this.  For those paying closer attention, the Blues had five men as far as the defensive blue line a few minutes later.  Either of these careless mistakes could have turned a soft call against Backes into a scary 5 on 3 situation.

The Blues appear to be back, though it seems they can’t score goals and keep themselves out of the box at the same time.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below.

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