Lightning-Blues Preview

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

this season.

“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

your eyes.”

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.