|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, February 7, 2019
Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida Attendance: 19,092
After stumble, Lightning seek bounce-back vs. Blues
The Tampa Bay Lightning will take their second shot at becoming the first NHL team to reach the 40-win plateau when they host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay (39-11-3, 81 points) fell for the fourth time in eight games overall (4-3-1) and the first time in five shootouts this season in Tuesday's 3-2 setback versus Vegas.
Star forward Steven Stamkos lamented losing a multi-goal advantage in the opener of the Lightning's three-game homestand, a rare occurrence during the team's route to the league's best record.
"We've got a 2-0 lead at home with three or four minutes left in the (second) period and we give up a breakaway from behind the net, We've got to be more aware of that," said Stamkos, who notched two assists against the Golden Knights to boost his point total to 14 (five goals, nine assists) in his last 10 games.
Brayden Point scored his team-leading 31st goal in his return from a one-game absence due to a lower-body injury.
The 22-year-old Point dismissed the notion that the Lightning are still getting back in sync from the All-Star break.
"Things have gone so good for us this year, so sometimes it's kind of easy to nitpick when we lose," Point said. "I think sometimes you just go through highs and lows, and sometimes you don't find ways to win games. Think that's going to happen for us, but we are back in the groove, we're back in the rhythm, this is what we do."
Nikita Kucherov set up Point's tally to pad his NHL-best totals in assists (59) and points (81), and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves versus Vegas.
Point, Kucherov and Vasilevskiy came up big in their last meeting with the Blues, as each forward scored a goal and the netminder turned aside all 32 shots he faced in a 3-0 win on Dec. 12, 2017. Reigning Norris Trophy recipient Victor Hedman had an assist in that contest and has six (two goals, four assists) of his 399 career points in the past six games overall.
Stamkos was held off the scoresheet in the last game versus the Blues after erupting for 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his previous 11 encounters.
While Tampa Bay squandered a lead in its last outing, St. Louis recorded its third straight win after overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period in Tuesday's 3-2 victory against Florida.
"We need to definitely start off better. (We're) fortunate enough to get the win, and that's really good for us," said defenseman Vince Dunn, who scored the go-ahead goal with 3:53 remaining in the contest.
Ryan O'Reilly scored to extend his point streak to eight games (four goals, seven assists) for the Blues, who are wrapping up their five-game road trip on Thursday.
O'Reilly leads St. Louis in goals (20) and assists (33).
Rookie Jordan Binnington made 22 saves versus the Panthers to improve to 7-1-1 with one shutout, a 1.88 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in 11 appearances this season.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 6, 2019