TAMPA — For a few moments Wednesday morning, it was just Lightning teammates Marty St. Louis and Mike Smith on the ice.
St. Louis had a shootout move he wanted to try. Smith, Tampa Bay's backup goaltender, was, as he called himself, "the guinea pig."
"I was trying to do something a little more fun and not be afraid of not scoring," St. Louis said. "Just go after it."
The dry run worked as St. Louis used a backward backhander to clinch Wednesday night's 4-3 shootout victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in front of an announced 19,912 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"Oh, man, it's a huge win," St. Louis said. "We've played some pretty good hockey. We just haven't gotten the results. This time of year, it's all about results."
For the Lightning (38-21-8), it was about breaking a season-high four-game losing streak and staying two points behind the first-place Capitals (who beat the Oilers 5-0) in the Southeast Division.
There was a Steven Stamkos sighting as the right wing scored his league-best 42nd goal, his first in seven games and second in 13. Teddy Purcell scored, and St. Louis got his 25th as Tampa Bay had more than two goals for the first time in seven games.
Dwayne Roloson's stop of Bryan Bickell's breakaway with 1:42 remaining in overtime preserved the tie.
"I was just trying to focus on the puck and get my body in front of stuff," said the goalie, who had 28 saves and three more in the shootout, which, really, was the issue.
Tampa Bay months ago stopped using its top players during shootouts as St. Louis, Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Simon Gagne were a combined 0-for-14 entering Wednesday.
The team won three straight without them but lost its past three, including Monday to the Capitals. So coach Guy Boucher told his stars it was again their turn.
"I even had them practice," Boucher said. "They were prepared for it, and they went to their best moves."
But after goalie Corey Crawford stopped Lecavalier and Stamkos hit the post, it was up to St. Louis, who started on right wing, turned backward and went to his backhand as he crossed the slot, stick-handled forward and back and shot.
He tried it once on Smith, scored and skated off the ice. Smith claimed St. Louis rubbed it in. St. Louis denied it.
"Marty's a creative human," Smith said. "He came up with that on his own. It's a good move. It gets the goalie out of position."
"It just worked. It was a lot of fun," St. Louis said. "It maybe looked stupid if I lost the puck, but at least I would have gone out being aggressive."
Instead, he and the Lightning went out winners.
|Lightning wins shootout 1-0|
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 42 (St. Louis, Clark), 11:07. 2, Chicago, Kane 23 (Toews, Sharp), 16:43. 3, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 25 (Stamkos, Hall), 19:44. Penalties—Stamkos, TB (delay of game), 12:20.
Second Period—4, Tampa Bay, Purcell 16 (Hedman, Gagne), 1:20. 5, Chicago, Sharp 34 (Toews, Kane), 9:39. Penalties—None.
Third Period—6, Chicago, Toews 28 (Hjalmarsson, Seabrook), 3:30. Penalties—Kopecky, Chi (hooking), 4:09; Hjalmarsson, Chi (delay of game), 19:03.
Shootout—Chicago 0 (Toews NG, Kane NG, Hossa NG), Tampa Bay 1 (Lecavalier NG, Stamkos NG, St. Louis G). Shots on Goal—Chicago 5-14-10-2—31. Tampa Bay 10-7-9-4—30. Power-play opportunities—Chicago 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 2. Goalies—Chicago, Crawford 26-13-4 (30 shots-27 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 19-21-3 (31-28). A—19,912 (19,758).