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Enterprise Center demons continue as Bolts fall to Blues

Following Sunday afternoons loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Tampa Bay Lightning headed for another historical house of horrors. The Enterprise Center in St. Louis has not been kind to the Bolts over the years. Tampa Bay has just a 3-12-0-2 record in 17 lifetime games at the Blues’ current home arena. Tuesday was the first of a home and home between the most recent Stanley Cup winners and the Lightning looked to change the course of history and shake the St. Louis demons.


Lightning strikes early and often in opening minutes

Already without forwards Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was a late scratch in this game. Stamkos had to return to Tampa for the birth of his second child. In addition, Andrei Vasilevskiy was given the night off, giving way to backup Brian Elliott.

The Bolts came out hot and, as a result, the scoreboard reflected their efforts quickly. Just 2:02 into the game, Anthony Cirelli knocked in a Victor Hedman rebound from the crease to put the Lightning up 1-0. 3 minutes later, the Lightning went on the power play and made quick work of extending the lead. In the right place at the right time, Corey Perry cleaned up an Alex Killorn rebound at 5:24 to put the Lightning up by 2.

The next, strange sequence lead to a historic moment in Bolts history. Following a face-off win after Perry’s goal, Erik Cernak fired into the offensive zone from the red line. The puck ricocheted off a stanchion and redirected, unexpectedly, thorough the five hole of Blues’ goalie Jordan Bennington. These goals, just 5 seconds apart, were the fastest 2 goals in Lightning history.

Blues come roaring back

Shortly after Cernak’s goal, things started to go downhill in a hurry for Tampa Bay. To close the first period and well into the second period, the Lightning had a stretch of 16 minutes without a shot on goal. With the momentum fully on their side, the Blues took advantage and cut the defecit down to a manageable 1 goal by second intermission.

After skating around to create space, Jordan Kyrou connected with Ryan O’Reilly who was alone in front of the net. O’Reilly quickly fired home to get St. Louis on the board at 3:15 of the second period. Less than 3 minutes later, Logan Brown found the back of the net from the top of the circle for his first goal of the year. Bennington settled in after his shaky start and denied every chance the Lightning could muster up. Unfortunately, that continued into third period along with the momentum that the Blues had taken control over. Furthermore, St. Louis carried 1:28 of power play time into the third as a result of an Erik Cernak high sticking penalty.

The Blues’ power play came through early in the third to erase the Tampa Bay lead. Ivan Barbashev fired a one timer past Brian Elliott at 1:11. St. Louis had controlled the game from midway through the first and Bennington continued to slam the door. A late, furious rush by the Blues with under a minute to go fell just short. Overtime was needed to decide the winner in this bout.

Enterprise Center haunts yet again

The Bolts had a golden opportunity in overtime to escape St. Louis with a victory. Jordan Kyrou took a penalty for hooking Ondrej Palat 46 seconds into the extra frame. The Lightning could not solve Bennington in the 4 on 3 situation and, ultimately, a shootout was needed.

With their top scorers out in this game, Tampa Bay turned to Victor Hedman, Corey Perry, and Ross Colton in the shootout. None could manage to get a puck past Jordan Bennington. However, Ryan O’Reilly’s lone goal for the Blues proved to be all that was needed to complete the comeback.

After taking a 3-0 lead in the game’s first 5:29, the Lightning were haunted by the Enterprise Center yet again. But, without Point, Kucherov, Stamkos, and Vasilevskiy, the team should be happy to have earned a point in the standings. These two teams will go at it again on Thursday night. This time in Tampa at Amalie Arena.

3 Stars of the game

  1. Jordan Bennington
  2. Ryan O’Reilly
  3. Jordan Kyrou


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