TAMPA — When Blues forward Patrik Berglund appeared to kick in the eventual winning goal late in Sunday's third period, it was quickly waved off.
To the Lightning, the ensuing video review appeared only a formality, and it would still be trailing by just one goal with a couple of minutes to go.
"I thought there was zero chance of that being turned over," coach Jon Cooper said.
Admitted Berglund: "I didn't have my hopes up."
But in a stunning move, the call was reversed and the goal counted, proving the difference in the Lightning's 2-1 loss to the Blues.
The sellout crowd of 19,092 continued to boo the decision after the final horn. It was the third loss in four games for Tampa Bay (30-21-4), which dropped into a tie for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I'm at a loss for words," Cooper said. "That was as clear a kick as you can possibly see. It was a distinct kick. The ref on the ice was 10 feet away and was adamantly calling it a no-goal. I didn't see any way it would be reversed."
Berglund's goal came on the Blues' third breakaway of the night. With just more than two minutes left, defenseman Matt Carle pinched in to the offensive zone and tried to leap and glove a puck mid-air. But the puck dropped and Berglund was soon off to the races.
Bishop made the initial save. But the rebound bounced off his pad right to Berglund, who angled his right skate and nudged the puck through Bishop's legs.
"I put on the brakes and it bounced and went in," Berglund said.
In the league's explanation of the reversal, it cited Rule 49.2, where "a puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. Good goal St. Louis."
Bishop, with the best view in the house, saw it differently.
"It looked like he kicked it in with the side of his foot," Bishop said. "Looked like a kicking motion, looks like he did it on purpose, looks like he knew what he was doing."
The Lightning lamented the fact both Blues goals came off breakaways. "You'd like to stop one of them," Bishop said. "That was the difference."
Bishop didn't get much help. The Lightning racked up 38 shots but was shut out until 52 seconds left on a goal by Nikita Kucherov with the extra attacker.
The Lightning has lost nine games this season when allowing two or fewer goals. And in its past three losses, it has mustered just four combined goals. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was stellar, stunning Braydon Coburn with a point-blank save from the slot in the third.
Now the Lightning sits a point ahead of ninth-place Pittsburgh, which has a game in hand.
"We've just got to regroup here," Cooper said. "Everybody around us is winning. And we talked about our nice little run we went on that got us back in the playoff picture. But we might wake up on Tuesday morning to play San Jose and we might be out, so we need to get a win here."
Contact Joe Smith at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.
First Period—None. Penalties—Fabbri, StL, major (fighting), 1:42; Namestnikov, TB, major (fighting), 1:42; Upshall, StL (tripping), 3:15; Boyle, TB (high-sticking), 17:33.
Second Period—1, St. Louis, Fabbri 13 (Stastny), :36. Penalties—Stralman, TB (slashing), 6:46; Edmundson, StL (roughing), 12:44.
Third Period—2, St. Louis, Berglund 4, 17:41. 3, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 23 (Johnson, Hedman), 19:08. Penalties—Condra, TB (tripping), 3:21; Shattenkirk, StL (hooking), 13:30. Shots on Goal—St. Louis 4-10-7—21. Tampa Bay 12-11-15—38. Power-play opportunities—St. Louis 0 of 3; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—St. Louis, Elliott 14-7-6 (38 shots-37 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 22-16-3 (21-19). A—19,092 (19,092). T—2:31. Referees—Chris Lee, Dan O'Halloran. Linesmen—Brian Murphy, Derek Nansen.