Game 71: St. Louis Blues versus Tampa Bay Lightning

March 17, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) skates with the puck as St. Louis Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (28) defends during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Blues beat the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night.

Well, no one can say it's not all over now. Of course, I'm talking about the Blues' bid to become the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs, recording the fifth 100 point season in franchise history in the process.

To what else would I be referring?

"It's the first step. We're proud of that. We're organizationally proud of it. It's the first step of what we want to do. It's been two or three months of really good hockey." - St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock

The Western Conference's best team got things started when Patrik Berglund scored shorthanded with assists from Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie at 15:00.

Jaden Schwartz doubled the lead with help from Chris Stewart and Carlo Colaiacovo at 19:25

The score was 2-0, St. Louis after one.

David Perron scored the Blues third goal on an assist from Oshie at 2:47 of the second. Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced on the night.

St. Louis carried the 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

Brendan Mikkelson scored his first NHL goal, while simultaneously ruining Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak's shutout bid when he scored on assists from Adam Hall and Tim Wallace at 15:49 of the third.

"It's more of a relief. It's taken me way too long to get that first one. It's disappointing that we weren't able to turn that into little more of a rally down the stretch. Give them credit; they battle hard and compete hard." - Mikkelson

The Lightning's homestand continues Monday when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning have now played more games at home (36) than on the road (35) for the first time this season.
  • Mikkelson's goal broke a scoreless streak of 115:49 against St. Louis this season.
  • This was Brendan Mikkelson's 116th career NHL game.
  • Berglund's goal snapped a scoreless streak of 119:01 for St. Louis.
  • Schwartz's goal was his first as a pro; tonight was his professional debut after joining the Blues from Colorado College.
  • The Lightning honored Andrew Mandell as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues. Mandell, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Defeat Diabetes Foundation. Mandell is the Executive Director of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded in 1990 that prevents diabetes and helps save the lives of children, adults and families impacted by the pain of diabetes. He authored a fitness manual for diabetics with numerous articles and helped develop the Defeat Diabetes Screening Test, a valuable first step to identify a person’s diabetes risk. The test has been distributed to millions of American children. Mandell is a recognized expert, as he lectures tirelessly to individuals, elected officials, schools, community groups and civic organizations. He was diagnosed himself with Type 2 diabetes in 1985. Mandell set off on the Diabetes Wake Up and Walk Tour in 2000, a 10,000-mile walk of the perimeter of the continental United States on feet and legs that he couldn’t feel. He took the message to the streets that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by as much as 95 percent in most cases. Mandell’s epic journey took eight years to complete, spanning 34 states, approximately 1,000 media appearances and he talked one-on-one with more than 78,000 individuals. His message has resonated with senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, researchers and hospital workers. To this day, Mandell has insisted to be readily available at all hours of the day to anyone with diabetes who needs help or advice.
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