Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Caged Halpern sparks Lightning

ST. LOUIS — Jeff Halpern rolled his eyes when asked if what he did Friday night was a big deal.

Related News/Archive

"No," he said, "I've seen guys hurt a lot worse."

Perhaps, but not as many made as big an impact.

The Lightning center, hit in the mouth by a puck Thursday against the Red Wings and wearing a full cage to protect 12 stitches in his upper lip and a dangling tooth supported by new bridgework, scored twice in the third period in Tampa Bay's 6-3 victory over the Blues to help end a six-game losing streak.

More important, each of his goals re-established two-goal leads as St. Louis kept charging.

"He showed a lot of guts," center Steven Stamkos said. "It shows what kind of leader he is on this team and what kind of player he is."

"His teeth got shattered pretty good," coach Rick Tocchet said. "People know when they go to the dentist and have teeth done, it hurts, and he's got to play an NHL game. It shows you a lot about a guy like him."

The game showed something about Tampa Bay (12-14-9), which had yet to win on a six-game road trip that wraps up Monday against the Islanders.

"We told ourselves we weren't going to leave this rink without two points," said captain Vinny Lecavalier, whose two assists gave him 700 career points.

"It was a huge game for this team."

And it got some huge efforts while scoring a season-high six goals, one more than it had in its previous four games combined.

Right wing Marty St. Louis had a goal and three points and was plus-4. Stamkos had two goals, including his team-best 20th into an empty net.

Defenseman Kurtis Foster had a goal and an assist, and goaltender Antero Niittymaki made 23 saves to win for the first time since Nov. 22.

But it was Halpern's timely goals that kept the game from squirting away.

The first came 4:12 into the third, 14 seconds after the Blues closed to 3-2 on T.J. Oshie's goal. His second, and seventh of the season, came with 8:45 left, 2:12 after Keith Tkachuk's power-play goal made it 4-3.

"And look where the goals were," Tocchet said.

"They were around the net. Those are really good confidence-builder goals for him and the team."

Halpern said he couldn't have done it without Lecavalier's pass on the first goal and Ryan Malone trying to jam the puck under goalie Chris Mason on the second.

"That's two tap-ins created by two very good plays and by very good players," Halpern said.

He also credited the training staff for fixing him up in Detroit and the equipment staff for fashioning his mask.

"He's going to have to keep the mask on after scoring two goals," Stamkos said.

"Back to my college days," Halpern laughed. "I was good in college."

He was very good Friday night.

Lightning 1 2 3 6
Blues 1 0 2 3

First Period1, St. Louis, Winchester 1 (Backes, Kariya), 10:04 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 7 (Tanguay, Lecavalier), 10:37. PenaltiesOhlund, TB (interference), 8:15; Halpern, TB (hooking), 12:36; Janssen, StL (delay of game), 18:32; Lecavalier, TB (elbowing), 18:57; Colaiacovo, StL (tripping), 19:53.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 19 (Foster, St. Louis), :36. 4, Tampa Bay, Foster 5 (Hedman, Malone), 6:24. PenaltiesLecavalier, TB (roughing), 2:17; Veilleux, TB (holding), 4:52; Johnson, StL (holding), 4:52; Janssen, StL (holding), 7:19; Jones, TB, major (fighting), 10:03; Colaiacovo, StL, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 10:03; St. Louis, TB (roughing), 13:45.

Third Period5, St. Louis, Oshie 7 (Kariya, Backes), 3:58. 6, Tampa Bay, Halpern 6 (Lecavalier, Tanguay), 4:12. 7, St. Louis, Tkachuk 7 (Boyes, McDonald), 9:03 (pp). 8, Tampa Bay, Halpern 7 (Malone), 11:15. 9, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 20 (St. Louis), 19:02 (en). PenaltiesTanguay, TB (tripping), 8:38. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 5-13-6—24. St. Louis 11-8-7—26. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 4; St. Louis 2 of 5. GoaliesTampa Bay, Niittymaki 7-5-4 (26 shots-23 saves). St. Louis, Mason 9-10-4 (23-18).

Lightning 6

Blues 3

Caged Halpern sparks Lightning 12/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2009 12:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.