Lightning can’t come all the way back against the Blues

St. Louis completes a sweep of Tampa Bay, the third team to do so.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) knocks the puck away from St. Louis Blues' Oskar Sundqvist (70) before Sundqvist can shoot as Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) watches in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) knocks the puck away from St. Louis Blues' Oskar Sundqvist (70) before Sundqvist can shoot as Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) watches in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
Published March 23
Updated March 24

ST. LOUIS — Seventy-five seconds was enough to sink the Lightning on Saturday.

Tampa Bay played a good game, a very good second and third periods, but it gave up three goals in a 1:15 span of the first period. St. Louis went on to a 4-3 win, ending the Lighnting’s seven-game win streak.

Robert Thomas got the Blues started with a power-play goal at 11:30 of the first period. He knocked in a rebound at the back door to put the Blues on the board.

Alexander Steen added another 38 seconds later. He dove at the goal (and Andrei Vasilevskiy) to get his stick on another rebound.

Then, 37 seconds after that, Vladimir Tarasenko struck on a two-on-one with Ryan O’Reilly.

Just like that, Tampa Bay was in a 3-0 hole.

“I liked the way we handled ourselves except for that little bit of a meltdown for a minute and a half,” Jon Cooper said.

The Lightning has come back from that deficit before (the last time was March 9 against Detroit, sparked by Steven Stamkos’ record-tying goal), but has come out of it each time saying the team can’t put itself in that position.

Tampa Bay couldn’t pull it off on Saturday.

Alex Killorn started the comeback effort with a short-handed goal 27 seconds into the second period. He drove in on Jordan Binnington in net and made a nice move faking at the glove and then tucking the puck around the goalie.

Brayden Point added another, redirecting Ryan McDonagh’s pass at the back door to bring the Lightning within a goal. With that goal, Point has his first 40-goal season his third season.

Brayden Schenn gave the Blues back a cushion with an impressive goal late in the second period. Vasilevskiy saved the first shot Schenn took, but Schenn immediately grabbed the puck again. Vasilevskiy sprawled to try to get the puck from Schenn, but couldn’t reach it. Schenn, skating on one leg with the right straight out in the air like a figure skater, tucked the puck around his left leg. Vasilevskiy trying rolling over to make the save, but couldn’t get to the puck. Blues up 4-2 with 5:36 left in the second period.

Stamkos brought the Lightning back within one with a wrist shot from the slot early in the third period.

He almost tied it up with 5:43 to play, on a standard power-play one-timer from the left dot, but the goal was reviewed and overturned because Point was offside.

Both Point and Cooper said the play was offside, a tough call but the right one by the officials in the NHL situation room.

“For the final two periods I thought we played pretty darn well,” Cooper said. “We had some unreal looks. They just didn’t go in. Then we get the unfortunate offsides, but it was offside.”

With the win, St. Louis became the third team to sweep the Lighting (Minnesota and Nashville being the other two). The Blues beat the Lightning 1-0 in overtime on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay.

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