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Blues at Lightning Preview: Back to basics

The Blues got one out of a possible four points against Nashville.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues last played the Tampa Bay Lightning eight days ago, skating out of the Enterprise Center with a 3-1 victory over a team that was having problems finding its focus. After blasting through the regular season at an absurd clip, the Lightning stumbled out of the gate this year. They were 9-7-2 a couple of weeks ago.

The Bolts haven’t lost a game since then.

Tonight should be a tough contest for the Blues. They fought back on Monday night from a 2-0 deficit to lose, 3-2, in a shootout. The Blues probably didn’t deserve two points based on their first period, but getting one point after the second and third were played so well, especially by Jake Allen, seemed like a gift.

The Blues aren’t letting anything be easy this season, and getting Troy Brouwer back on the fourth line isn’t going to change that. Without Alexander Steen, without Sammy Blais, and certainly without Vladimir Tarasenko, goals aren’t going to be easy to come by. The Blues are clinging to first in the Central right now through sheer will, while the Lightning have plodded their way up to just three points out of a playoff spot.

The last time that the Blues played the Bolts, it snapped a three game losing streak for St. Louis. They still haven’t lost back to back games in regulation this season, but the team would much rather snap a two game losing streak than go on a three game slide. The Blues limited the Lightning to 18 shots on goal earlier this month, which is how the team needs to beat them if they want to win again tonight. Tampa Bay is a very dangerous team and some of their more dangerous players are heating up - Nikita Kucherov has two goals in his last two games.

Steven Stamkos may not be in tonight, though. He left the Lightning’s eventual victory over the Blackhawks on November 21st with a lower body injury, and missed both the team’s wins over Anaheim and Buffalo. He’s day to day, but the Lightning haven’t mentioned yet if he’s a game time decision or if he’ll sit tonight.