Bolstered by two call-ups and a returning Anton Stralman, the Lightning looked to stop their skid in St. Louis Thursday. Unfortunately they were haunted by mistakes of games past. Defensive lapses and spending an excessive amount of time on the penalty kill put a stop to those efforts as they fell 5-4 in St. Louis.
Tampa looked to get off to a strong start but the Blues got on the board at 1:39 when an ill-timed turnover ended up on the stick of Vladimir Tarasenko. Braydon Coburn took a penalty for inadvertently clearing the puck over the glass and Tarasenko extended St. Louis’ lead with the man advantage at 9:37.
Thing seemed to take a turn when the third line of Jonathan Drouin, Cedric Paquette, and Joel Vermin started pushing the pace with their speed. Paquette put a Drouin rebound past Jake Allen at 10:39 to bring the Lightning within a goal. Penalty kill woes continued and the Blues regained the 2 goal lead on a Kevin Shattenkirk power play goal at 13:17.
Struggles continued early in the second when the Lightning took a bench minor for too many men. Kevin Shattenkirk widened the lead to 4-1 at 1:44 with his second goal of the night. Head coach Jon Cooper decided Andrei Vasilevskiy had had enough and pulled him from the game. The crowd showed appreciation for hometown boy Ben Bishop’s entrance into the game. Things began to take a turn for the Lightning after that. They were faster to the puck and asserting themselves more. The reunited Triplet line recaptured their magic chemistry and Tyler Johnson made it 4-2 at 14:25 on assists from Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.
Tampa’s rally continued in the third period when Nikita Kucherov scored 7 seconds into their first power play opportunity of the game at 1:41. A defensive breakdown allowed the Blues to pull ahead again as Tarasenko scored his third of the night and complete the hat trick. Cedric Paquette scored his second of the game at 11:56 to bring the Bolts within a goal again.
The rally ultimately fell short but the Lightning started to look like themselves again in the final 40 minutes. They return home to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7 pm.