The Tampa Bay Lightning have been able to maintain their
composure when facing a deficit.
New St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock would prefer if his
team’s special teams improved so it could avoid those
Tampa Bay goes for its fourth straight victory Saturday night
when the Blues look to extend their longest home point streak in
nearly a year to six games.
While Lighting coach Guy Boucher is not pleased his team has
been outscored 18-11 in the first period this season, the club
holds a 19-11 scoring edge in the third period and overtime.
Tampa Bay (8-5-2), winner of seven of nine, has trailed in the
final minute of the second period in each game during its winning
“I think part of our success is not getting sidetracked from our
game plan,” center Dominic Moore told the Lightning’s official
website after assisting on Brett Connolly’s overtime goal in
Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Philadelphia. “We have stuck with it
enough times and have had success that we know we have the ability
to make those plays when we have to. That’s a good sign.”
So is Connolly’s ability to crash the net. The rookie forward
has three goals in four games after not scoring in his first 11
“We’re very impressed with him,” Boucher said.
Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson has also been outstanding,
posting a 1.70 goals-against average during the winning streak.
He is 7-2-1 with a 1.58 GAA in his last 10 starts against St.
Roloson could be in net as Tampa Bay tries to extend its point
streak in this matchup to eight. Vincent Lecavalier’s power-play
goal gave the host Lightning a 4-3 overtime win Feb. 6 in the
teams’ only meeting in 2010-11.
Tampa Bay has won two straight in St. Louis after dropping 10 in
a row there.
The Blues (7-7-1), though, are 4-0-1 in their last five on home
ice following Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto. Coming off
Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Chicago – Hitchcock’s first game after
Davis Payne was fired Sunday – St. Louis outshot the Maple Leafs
32-8 after falling behind 2-0 in the first 20 minutes.
Both goals came on the power play.
“We did a lot of play with our eyes and not our legs,”
Hitchcock said. “You can’t kill penalties if you just play with
While the Blues have plenty of room for improvement after
falling to 14th in the Western Conference under Payne, the Blues
have already made noticeable improvements since Hitchcock’s
St. Louis is 2 for 7 on the power play in two games after being
a league-worst 7.5 percent (3 for 40) under Payne’s watch.
The addition of defenseman Kris Russell could also be an upgrade
for the Blues’ special teams after he was acquired Friday from
Columbus for Nikita Nikitin.
Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak has turned aside 49 of 51 shots
in the last two contests after opening 1-6-0 with a 3.35 GAA.
However, containing Marc-Andre Bergeron (13 points and 16
assists), Steven Stamkos (10 goals), Martin St. Louis (11 assists
and 14 points) and Lecavalier (12 points) could be a tall task.
They have combined for six goals and 10 assists during the winning
Stamkos had a goal and three assists Feb. 6, while Bergeron and
St. Louis – who has four goals and nine assists during a seven-game
point streak against the Blues – each set up two scores.