TAMPA — It had been so long since Marty St. Louis scored a shootout goal, even the Lightning captain wasn't sure when it was.
It was a relevant question after Tampa Bay's 2-1 shootout victory over the Red Wings at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday night because St. Louis was the only player to score in the six-round, game-ending gimmick.
"Was it Chicago, the spin-o-rama?" St. Louis said of his controversial goal scored in March 2011. "I don't know."
As it turns out, St. Louis' previous shootout goal was March 22, 2012, against the Oilers and former Tampa Bay goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
Why the drought? St. Louis has admitted shootouts are not his thing. He is 8-for-34 in his career and has only five attempts since the start of the 2011-12 season.
But coach Jon Cooper said he had "one of those gut feelings," called on St. Louis in the sixth round, and the right wing's sizzling forehand beat goalie Jonas Gustavsson. "It felt pretty good," St. Louis said.
The Lightning (18-10-3) should feel good about the win that moved it ahead of Detroit into third place in the Atlantic Division, especially after the disappointment of Tuesday's 6-5 shootout loss to the Capitals.
Nikita Kucherov's third goal of the season, and second in as many games, on a screened wrist shot from the high slot, tied the score 1-1 with 43.7 seconds left in the second period.
And goalie Ben Bishop was outstanding again, earning his 16th win with 28 saves and six more in the shootout.
" 'Bish, ' " St. Louis said, "is the backbone of our success."
But it was St. Louis who provided the talking point with his shootout goal because, for him, they are so rare and he missed the net in the second period on a shorthanded breakaway.
Cooper actually gave St. Louis a shootout chance against Washington, and St. Louis was poke-checked by goalie Phillip Grubauer
"I just felt him … being an instinctual shooter, not telling him when he is going, it was just one of those gut feelings," Cooper said. "I'm glad I went to him. It was big for us."
St. Louis also shunned any fancy moves, such as the one where he backs his way toward the net. This time he went straight in to Gustavsson's left.
"I try to follow my gut instinct," St. Louis said. "I had a similar situation during the game, had a breakaway, not quite the same angle, but I really felt I had that corner and just missed it.
"I gave myself a different angle on the shootout and put it in the same spot I wanted to put it in the game."
Clearly, one to remember.
|Lightning wins shootout 1-0|
|Lightning wins shootout 1-0|
First—1, Det, Quincey 1 (Nyquist, Franzen), 15:04. Penalties—Palat, TB (hold), 15:41; Ericsson, Det (trip), 18:09.
Second—2, TB, Kucherov 3 (Brown), 19:16. Penalties—Barberio, TB (hold), 3:06; Ericsson, Det (hold), 9:46.
Third—None. Penalties—Palat, TB (hook), 1:24; Tatar, Det (close hand on puck), 13:21; Sustr, TB (interfere), 16:32; Abdelkader, Det (hook), 19:17.
OT—None. Penalties—None. SO—Det 0 (Datsyuk NG, Alfredsson NG, Tatar NG, Bertuzzi NG, Nyquist NG, Franzen NG), TB 1 (Purcell NG, Kucherov NG, Filppula NG, Carle NG, Johnson NG, St. Louis G). SOG—Det 8-6-10-5—29. TB 6-10-11-0—27. PP opps—Det 0 of 4; TB 0 of 4. Goalies—Det, Gustavsson 8-1-2 (27 shots-26 saves). TB, Bishop 16-5-2 (29-28). A—19,204 (19,204).