ST. LOUIS — It took 11 seconds in the Lightning's preseason game with the Blues on Friday night for a major scrum to erupt.
It started when St. Louis captain David Backes cross-checked F Nate Thompson. It escalated quickly and included Blues D Barret Jackman tackling F Dana Tyrell from behind.
The miniexplosion in Tampa Bay's 4-3 victory at the Scottrade Center came a day after Blues coach Ken Hitchcock called out his players for not retaliating in Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay's Adam Erne, who was suspended for three preseason games for a head shot on Vladimir Sobotka.
Tempers flared in the third period, too, as F B.J. Crombeen went after Backes after Backes appeared to go for F Mike Angelidis' legs.
"(Backes) kind of clipped (Angelidis') knees there," Crombeen said. "It's something we've talked about a lot … sticking together as a team. We're not going to let stuff like that happen against our team."
F Pierre-Cedric Labrie's goal 5:39 into the third period off the back of G Jaroslav Halak was the winner and gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead.
D Artem Sergeev, on the power play, F Brett Connolly and F Ondrej Palat also scored for Tampa Bay (3-0-0). C Valtteri Filppula had three assists.
Goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 14 of 15 shots. Anders Lindback stopped 12 of 14.
It was a good win for the Lightning because the Blues played most of their top players.
"We were joking in the (dressing) room we can't use up all these wins in preseason," coach Jon Cooper said. "That was a big, strong team that had a lot of NHL regulars in the lineup. Our guys found a way, so I was proud of them."
"It's contagious to win," Thomposon said. "It's habits. When you do the right habits like we're doing in preseason, it translates over (to the regular season).
"Guys were playing complete games, and it showed."
PURCELL OUT: RW Teddy Purcell was held out of the game with what the team said was an upper-body injury. Connolly, who had two goals in Thursday's 5-1 victory over the Predators, took his place and played on a line with Filppula and C Alex Killorn. Cooper said not to read too much into Connolly's partners. "We want to see if there is some chemistry," he said.
ERNE OUT: Erne was sent back to Quebec of the junior Quebec league, a move made because of the left wing's suspension for his hit on Sobotka. Erne, 18 — the 33rd overall draft pick in June who had two goals and the shootout clincher against the Blues on Wednesday — probably would have gotten another game with the Lightning if not for the suspension. But by the time he could again play, Tuesday against the Predators, he would have been reassigned. His suspension will be considered complete after tonight's game with Florida.
BABY ON THE WAY: Angelidis will fly home to Toronto today to be with his wife, Lenna, who on Sunday will deliver their first child, daughter Santana, a breech, by caesarean section. "It is what it is, and you have to deal with it," the center said. "So, we move along and expect the arrival of a little girl. I can't wait to meet her."
SCHEDULE: Training camp returns to the Tampa Bay Times Forum today. Practices are closed to the public.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Sergeev 1 (Filppula), 7:31 (pp). 2, St. Louis, Steen 1 (Backes), 15:25. Penalties—Thompson, TB (roughing), :11; Tyrell, TB (roughing), :11; Jackman, StL (roughing), :11; Backes, StL (cross-checking, roughing), :11; Lapierre, StL (roughing), 7:29; Steen, StL (boarding), 19:53.
Second Period—3, Tampa Bay, Connolly 3 (Filppula, Killorn), 14:10. 4, St. Louis, Locke 1 (Shattock), 15:12. 5, Tampa Bay, Palat 2 (Johnson, Panik), 15:59. Penalties—Crombeen, TB (slashing), 7:30; Connolly, TB (delay of game), 10:58.
Third Period—6, Tampa Bay, Labrie 1 (Filppula, Brewer), 5:39. 7, St. Louis, Oshie 1 (Bouwmeester, Locke), 7:28. Penalties—Crombeen, TB (roughing), 3:14; Backes, StL, served by Cracknell (roughing, tripping), 3:14. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 9-6-8—23. St. Louis 11-9-10—30. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 3; St. Louis 0 of 2. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop (15 shots-14 saves), Lindback 1-0-0 (10:51 second, 15-13). St. Louis, Halak 0-1-0 (23-19). A—13,246 (19,150). T—2:29. Referees—Mike Hasenfratz, Ian Walsh. Linesmen—Greg Devorski, John Grandt.