Lightning zap Blues, continue quick start

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Once again the Tampa Bay Lightning came through with third-period magic to knock off one of the Western Conference's top teams.
Brett Connolly and Valterri Filppula scored third-period goals as the Lightning defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2 Saturday night.
Of the Lightning's 45 goals this season, 19 have come in the third period.
This is the quickest the Lightning (10-4) have reached 10 wins in franchise history. It was the first road loss of the season for St. Louis (8-2-2).
"I really like our group, and I've said this from Day 1," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Are we the perfect hockey team? Not even close. But we are a team that responds to challenges."
Alex Killorn had a goal and two assists for the Lightning and goalie Ben Bishop finished with 28 saves, including a clean third period.
"You've got to give (Alex) credit because he might have been the only guy on the ice for all four goals," Cooper said. "He's got two world-class line mates, but I thought he held his own tonight."
St. Louis tried to rally and skated much of the final three minutes 6-on-5 but could not get any clear scoring opportunities.
"I thought we had a real push in the third period, but I think we saw this game coming," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We started to get more and more (chances) as the game went on."
Connolly notched his first goal of the season on a power play after defenseman Radko Gudas faked a slap shot and sent a hard pass. Connolly made a perfect tip off his stick past goaltender Jaroslav Halak to give Tampa the 3-2 lead.
Filppula added the insurance with less than four minutes remaining as his backhand shot deflected off defenseman Kevin Shatternkirk's stick and past Halak to extend the Lightning lead to 4-2.
"We took a reaching penalty and we ended up paying for it right at the end," Hitchcock said. "The fourth goal we got beat one on one twice down low."
Steven Stamkos added his 11th goal of the season in the second period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Stamkos held off on a shot and waited out a block attempt from defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to have a clear shot at Halak.
"Any time we play a team that is known to be very good we have to come out with a great effort," Stamkos said. "I think this was probably our most complete game of the year from Bishop on out."
Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz scored goals for St. Louis while Shattenkirk added his team-high ninth assist. Filppula and Eric Brewer added assists for the Lightning while Mark Barberio earned his first point of the season when he picked up the second assist on Stamkos' goal.
Halak finished the game with 21 saves. He stopped a breakaway opportunity by Connolly in the second period and also swatted away a point-blank shot from Sami Salo with the game still tied in the third period.
"If you give (the Lightning) some time and space, they are going to take advantage of their chances," Blues defenseman Jay Bowmeester said. "It was a back-and-forth game. (If) we did a few things a little better, we might have a different result."
NOTES: Both clubs are coming off shutout victories Friday night. ... The Blues scored first for the fourth straight game and ninth time overall this season. ... With his second-period goal, Lightning C Steven Stamkos moved out of a tie with Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin for second overall in the league with 11. His 20 points are second in the league behind Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby (22). ... The Lightning are 5-0-0 against Western Conference opponents. ... The Blues' streak of not allowing an even-strength goal was snapped after 2:25:55 minutes. ... The Lightning have yet to lose back-to-back games this season. ... Blues LW Alexander Steen notched an assist in the second period to stay on his surprising early-season scoring surge.

What to Read Next