NHL Game Night: 12-18-09 Lightning at Blues

Light at the end of the tunnel?

TB-6
STL-3

Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals in 26 shots for the win.

First Period
STL 10:04, Winchester 1 (Backes, Kariya)(PP)
TB 10:37, St. Louis 7 (Tanguay, Lecavalier)

Second Period
TB 0:36, Stamkos 19 (Foster, St. Louis)
TB 6:24, Foster 5 (Hedman, Malone)

Third Period
STL 3:58, Oshie 7 (Kariya, Sydor)
TB 4:12, Halpern 6 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)
STL 9:03, Tkachuk 7 (Boyes, McDonald)(PP)
TB 11:15, Halpern 7 (Malone)
TB 19:02, Stamkos 20 (St. Louis)(EN)

I thought in the second period, in particular, the Lightning played with a determination and urgency that is very, very welcome to see. The team's puck movement was also particularly quick and crisp in that period. If they skate and pass the puck like that for 60 minutes a game here on out, they'll win a boat load of hockey games. In particular, Vincent Lecavalier was flying, and the team in general played with a chip on its shoulder. That's the kind of hockey I expected to see this season.

It's a week to Christmas and Steven Stamkos has 20 goals. He's 19 years old. He won't be 20 until February. Think about that.

Zenon Konopka was -1 in 6:45.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 44% on draws in 13:48.

James Wright played 9:57.

Blair Jones was +1 with a fight, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 10:27. He struggled a bit in his own end of the rink, but if you watched that second period you saw why we've been saying all along he could flourish under Rick Tocchet. He obliterated David Backes on a clean neutral zone hit and, when challenged, answered the bell pretty well again Carlo Colaiacavo. More importantly, there were times he showed hustle and strength on the puck in the forecheck, too, and his big screen on Kurtis Foster's goal helped give the Lightning a key goal that really put St. Louis behind the eight-ball the rest of the way.

Victor Hedman had an assist and was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 24:17.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.