After winning their last five home games, the St. Louis Blues continued their impressive homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just 1:39 into the game, Vladimir Tarasenko retrieved a loose puck in the offensive zone. Tarasenko drifted toward the net while warding a Tampa Bay defenseman with his body to protect the puck. He snapped it past Andrei Vasilevskiy when he reached the crease, netting the first goal of the game.
“On the bench, we were all kind of licking our chops to see what he’s going to do with it, because he still had 55 minutes to work with,” said Kevin Shattenkirk.
About midway through the first, the Blues were given a power play thanks to a Tampa Bay delay-of-game penalty. Alexander Steen faked a shot from the point, pivoted, and found Tarasenko winding up for a one-timer. He slapped in his 12th of the season to extend the Blues’ lead to 2-0.
Cedric Paquette cut the Blues’ lead in half with an assist from Jonathan Drouin 10:39 into the first period. Drouin snagged his fifth assist of the season on Paquette’s goal.
The Blues capitalized on another power play shortly after Tampa scored. Kevin Shattenkirk’s slapshot goal gave the Blues their two-goal lead back 13:17 into the first.
For the first time this season, the Blues scored more than two goals in the first period. They headed into the second period outshooting the Lightning 14 to 7.
Kevin Shattenkirk’s next slapshot found the back of the net, too. His fifth goal of the season gave the Blues their third power play goal of the night to make it 4-1.
St. Louis native Ben Bishop came-in to replace Vasilevskiy after Shattenkirk’s second goal.
With five minutes left in the second period, Tyler Johnson snapped one past Allen to make it 4-2. Then—less than two minutes into the third period—Nikita Kucherov buried a pass from Victor Hedman to cut the Blues’ lead to 4-3.
After netting two goals in the first period, Tarasenko grabbed his third of the night 8:11 into the third to give the Blues their two-goal lead back—again.
With eight minutes left in regulation, Paquette banged in his second of the night to make it 5-4.
“It was a very important win for us, and it’s always nice to keep winning on a homestand,” said Tarasenko.
The Blues survived a high-scoring battle against Tampa Bay with the help of Tarasenko’s hat trick and Shattenkirk’s pair of goals. Although he could have tried for the empty net, Shattenkirk wasn’t thinking about two Blues hat tricks tonight. With the win, St. Louis improved their record to 14-7-3.
“It was great; they were hard-working goals,” said Shattenkirk of Tarasenko, who has 9 goals and 8 assists in his last 13 games.
The five-game homestand will continue this weekend when the Blues host the Jets on Saturday, 6:00 p.m.