Elliott will try to extend hot streak against Lightning
While it’s unclear how long he’ll remain in Tampa Bay, Steven Stamkos can get the Lightning’s home win streak into record territory before it’s time to make that crucial decision.
After playing the hero in the latest game, Stamkos will try to help Tampa Bay tie its all-time mark with a 10th consecutive home victory Sunday night against the St. Louis Blues.
With the chances of re-signing their star appearing murky, the Lightning could deal Stamkos before the trade deadline at the end of this month. The high-scoring forward hasn’t said if he would waive his no-trade clause, stating before Friday’s game against Nashville that any answers would come in a couple weeks.
Stamkos then provided a power-play goal with 26.6 seconds left in regulation and assisted on Tyler Johnson’s overtime winner in a 4-3 victory over the Predators. Tampa Bay (30-20-4) had totaled three goals in back-to-back losses.
"We dug deep and we found a way. Hopefully this gets us over that little hump," said Stamkos, who is two shy of his 300th career goal. "You’ve got to find ways when you don’t necessarily play your best in this league. We’ll work on some things but this could be a confidence booster for our team."
The Lightning established their record run at home last season, but they will have to end a four-game skid against St. Louis.
The Blues extended their recent mastery in the series with a 2-0 victory Oct. 27. Jake Allen stopped 26 shots but is currently out because of a knee injury.
Brian Elliott has gone 8-3-2 with a 1.77 goals-against average in 13 consecutive starts in his absence. He’s 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA in his last three against the Lightning.
Elliott got plenty of support from his teammates Friday in a 5-3 victory at Florida, including Jaden Schwartz in his return from a fractured left ankle.
Schwartz’s first goal of the season was among the Blues’ four in a row across the opening two periods. Captain David Backes started that run and ended a 10-game drought.
"(Schwartz has) been watching games for I don’t know how many months now, so it’s good to see him get back out there and put it in right away," Elliott said. "We obviously can’t expect that every night, but he’s a big piece to our puzzle."
The Blues, seeking their first three-game road win streak since November, have alternated wins and losses in their last five trips to Tampa. They won 6-3 in their lone visit last season.
Vladimir Tarasenko, who wrapped up the scoring in that game, has three goals and one assist in his last four matchups with the Lightning as does Troy Brouwer. Tarasenko, St. Louis’ leading scorer, has two of his 27 goals in the last three games after finding the net once in his previous 11.
Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop is 0-3-1 with a 3.02 GAA in last four starts against his former team. Stamkos has two goals in his last six games against St. Louis after producing four goals and four assists in his first three.