After stealing a victory 9 days ago, the Blues were expecting a huge all out push from the Lightning all night. Unfortunately for Tampa, the trio of Steen, Backes and Oshie were not going to let that happen. The SOB Line combined for 3 goals and 4 assists on the night.
The Blues dominated the first period in exactly the same way that Tampa did to them in the first meeting, out shooting the Lightning 17-6. Valtteri Filppula came close to opening the scoring on a rush 1:30 into the game but Brian Elliott's glove said no way. The ensuing face off lead to this:
Knowing that one goal is just not enough to one of the highest scoring teams in the league the Blues kept pouring shots on to Ben Bishop. Just two minutes after taking the lead, the Blues got a power play when Mark Barberio took a penalty that hadn't been called all year, playing with a broken stick. The Blues opened up with five forwards on the man advantage and it paid dividends almost immediately.
The Blues continued to hound Tampa in their own zone but were unable to put anything more past Bishop. Steen came closest late in the period on a nice pass from Oshie. Steen took the pass, faked a slapper, toe-dragged the defensemen and fired on Bishop who turned it aside. The first would end with the Blues up 2-0.
As everyone expected Tampa came out firing in the second with Steven Stamkos hitting the crossbar three minutes into the period and the team matching their first period shot total by the seven minute mark. All that pressure led to Backes taking a minor for interference and Tampa would capitalize. Team point leader Tyler Johnson took a sharp cross ice pass from Nikita Kucherov and buried the puck into the wide open net to pull the Lightening within one goal.
That was as close as Tampa would get though as the Blues would run a string of goals together in a 3:08 span. All three goals were things of beauty but the best was Oshie's between the legs pass to Backes to put the team up 4-1.
Steen and Statsny bookend this goal to give the Blues a 5-1 lead until late in the 2nd. After a poor clearing attempt by Pietrangelo, Brett Connolly found himself streaking in all alone against Elliott and ripped a shot past him to cut the lead to 5-2 heading into the 3rd period.
Starting the third period, Tampa made a goaltending change by bringing in Russian rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy for the struggling Bishop. The Lightning came out even faster then in the second and when Stamkos netted his 29th of the season and drew a penalty right after, the uh oh factor started to creep in. The Blues successfully killed the penalty to Backes but could not stop the pressure from Tampa as Nikita Kucherov rang a shot of the post with 6 minutes left to play.
Elliott stood on his head the rest of the game, though, turning aside 8 of the 9 shots thrown at him including a point blank shot from the point with just under four minutes to go. With the goalie pulled, Tarasenko ended any thought of a come back but out muscling the Tampa defensemen and sliding the puck into the corner of the empty net. That goal kept him on pace with Stankos for 5th in the league in goals.
The Blues ended the game outshooting Tampa 44-29 and skated off with the 6-3 victory. St. Louis is now 5-1-1 in the last 7 against Tampa and Elliott has now won 4 of his last 5 road games. The three stars from the game were
#3 TJ Oshie with a goal and assist
#2 David Backes with a goal and assist
#1 Alex Steen with a goal and two assists.
The Blues have the next two days off before an afternoon tilt with the surprising Florida Panthers while Tampa heads to San Jose.