Game 54: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. St. Louis Blues

The Tampa Bay Lightning came back from Friday's loss to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in overtime, in a game that Guy Boucher called "the most physical and most intense game of the year." 

The Bolts battled through three periods and into overtime to get the win, finished by Vincent Lecavalier's power play goal in overtime, assisted by Marc-Andre Bergeron and Steven Stamkos

The Bolts started off quick against the Blues, but were unable to capitalize on the two power play opportunities in the first, including a 36 second 5-on-3.

The Bolts finally found the Blues' net at the end of the first, when Martin St. Louis skated up the right side and passed to Brett Clark at center. Clark headed to the goal and took a shot, but Stamkos tipped in the puck at the crease, scoring his 40th goal, finishing the period 1-0.

The second period continued with the aggressive play, starting with Patrik Berglund's goal for the Blues at the 30 second mark.

The Lightning responded well to the Blues' tying goal; two minutes following Tampa Bay picked up the pace, with a shot from Stamkos at center, which bounced off of Dominic Moore's skate for the second Lightning goal. The second goal was also aided by Bergeron, taking an early assist in his first game with the Lightning. 

Read more after the jump.

Tampa Bay took eight shots in the first 6 minutes of the second period, but didn't have the goaltending to back up the effort.

With Dan Ellis in net Dwayne Roloson was sorely missed, with two more goals for St. Louis following, from David Backes at 11:09, and Nikita Nikitin at 13:09.

Still in the second, Steve Downie notched a third Lightning goal at 13:39 to even the score, assisted by Stamkos and St. Louis. The onslaught of goals created another surge in  momentum high but nothing else tangible. The second period ended tied at 3 and tied for shots at 25.

The Bolts finished continued the effort through the third, but were unable to score, ending the third with the shots tied at 31.

The Bolts-Blues kept and even effort through the overtime period, until the Bolts caught a break on a holding penalty from Eric Brewer. Vincent Lecavalier scored with 7 seconds left in overtime to take the win for the Lightning, assisted by Bergeron and Stamkos. 

Notes:

  • Steven Stamkos scored his 40th goal, and totaled four points in the game, which he humbly called "a nice accomplishment on the side." More than that, his performance tonight was an immense turnaround from Friday night, and showed his maturity in taking the loss to heart. He said: "I knew I had to come out and try to prove to myself that you want to help this team win, especially in these big games. I wasn't, obviously, impressed with my game last night, but it wasn't just me tonight, the whole team stepped up."
  • Guy Boucher echoed sentiment for Stamkos, saying: "It's another proof--not a proof--another proof of this kid's character, and that's what makes him so effective and so good, because he's got character."
  • Also, tonight at midnight, Stammer turns 21!
  • Boucher also commended Bergeron for his poise and "sense of drama," calling Bergeron "what we don't have."
  • Brett Clark, who assisted Stamkos' goal opener, reached his career high point streak at 4 games. 
  • (Not to end on a negative, but...) Halfway through the game, with 3 goals on the Lightning net, Dwayne Roloson was certainly missed. After a half a season of the Ellis-Smith medley, it has been nice watching Roloson have some strength in net.
  • Vinny, Stamkos, and Boucher all commended the crowd for showing up on Super Bowl Sunday. Boucher said, "I am so impressed. It really touched us today to have all these people here today," and "The organization, me personally, the players, we want to thank the crowd."

Up next: The Bolts (33-16-5) will continue the mega home stand on Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 PM. Be sure to drop by the game thread and give us a hello. 

Other Recaps: 

Blues vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Blues vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Blues vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

St. Louis Game Time [SB Nation]

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