Lecavalier notches 700th point in Lightning’s win
ST. LOUIS (AP) Vincent Lecavalier had no idea he was two points away from 700 for his career. Jeff Halpern couldn’t figure out how the Lightning took a sudden turn for the incompetent.
Both players were pleasantly surprised by Tampa Bay’s 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night
Lecavalier had two assists to reach a milestone and Halpern scored twice as the Lightning snapped a six-game skid with a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
“I didn’t know, so yeah, it’s great,” said Lecavalier, who has 310 goals and 390 assists in 11 seasons. “Hopefully, there are many, many more. It’s exciting.”
Steven Stamkos also scored two goals, Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists, Ryan Malone and Alex Tanguay each recorded two assists and Kurtis Foster also scored for Tampa Bay, which came in 0-5-1 in the last six – 1-8-2 in last 11. Antero Niittymaki stopped 23 shots.
“It gives us a little bit of enjoyment,” said Halpern, who helped the Lightning to a season-high for goals six. “There’s no real explanation for how we went from a team that was doing pretty well and was right in the thick of things to just falling off the face of the earth. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Brad Winchester, T.J. Oshie and Keith Tkachuk all scored for the Blues, who fell to 6-11-2 on home ice. They also have the fewest home points in the NHL (14).
After the game, Blues coach Andy Murray kept his team in the locker room for a lengthy period. They will now embark on a four-game, eight-day trip.
“I would almost call this loss tonight dumb,” Murray said. “It was a dumb loss. The goals we gave up … to me, the game against Edmonton (Dec. 11) in the third period, in our own building, we got pushed around. Tonight, we just played dumb.
“I’m responsible here. I’m the head coach, and it doesn’t sit well with me. We’ve got to talk about what we can do better as coaches as well,” he added.
Winchester scored his first of the season to give the Blues a 1-0 lead by beating Niittymaki with a snap shot from the low slot 10:04 into the game.
St. Louis tied it for Tampa Bay 33 seconds later on the Lightning’s first shot of the game. Stamkos’ 19th of the season 36 seconds into the second, a one-timer from the left circle, made it 2-1.
Foster made it 3-1 at 6:24 of the second on a slap shot from the right point that got through a screen in front.
Tampa Bay had three goals on its first nine shots against Blues goalie Chris Mason.
Oshie cut the Lightning lead to 3-2 just 3:58 into the third, but Halpern reinstated Tampa Bay’s two-goal lead just 14 seconds later. He took a pass from Lecavalier following a turnover by the Blues’ Brad Boyes.
“The one thing that was really positive was we answered when they got back in it and we answered again,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “Tonight, the Blues made a push. They scored and we answered that’s a good sign for us.”
Mason called it bad luck for the Blues.
“It just seemed like every time we got back in the game, they come back and score,” said Mason, who stopped 18 shots. “For me personally, I’ve got to make saves at crucial times for our team. Tonight, I didn’t really do that.”
Tkachuk’s power-play goal 9:03 into the third cut the Lightning lead to 4-3 the Lightning took over.
Halpern got his second of the game with 8:45 to play off a feed from Malone, and Stamkos added an empty-netter with 58 seconds to play.
NOTES: Lightning D Victor Hedman (foot) returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game in Detroit. He also turned 19 on Friday. … Lightning RW Steve Downie (head) missed his second straight game. … Blues D Eric Brewer (back) missed his 11th consecutive game. … The Lightning reassigned D Lukas Krajicek to Norfolk of the AHL. … The Blues have scored the fewest goals in the NHL (81). … Blues LW David Perron, who leads the team with nine goals, has not scored in 12 games.
Updated December 19, 2009