ST. LOUIS – The Tampa Bay Lightning fell to 1-3-0 on their Western Conference road trip after giving up a 2-0 lead and eventually falling 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at the Scottrade Center.
"A little bit of our structure has gone by the way side," head coach Jon Cooper said. "I felt we were a pretty good defense team, now we're giving up three, four goals a game. We're a better defense team than what happened tonight."
While opening the scoring in their past four tilts, Tampa Bay has only been able to walk away with one win. The Bolts been outscored by a combined 13-4 in the second and third period during that stretch and have given up early 2-0 leads in three of their past four (Nasvhille Predators, Dallas Stars, Blues).
"We have had multiple leads in each game, but if you're going to take less than 20 shots and expect to win, not a chance," Cooper said. "Since the New Year we've been a .500 team and that's not going to be good enough."
It was also goaltender Ryan Miller's first start on home ice after the Buffalo Sabres dealt him and Steve Ott to St. Louis on Friday. His opposite, goaltender Ben Bishop, has now lost six out of his last nine starts.
In only his second NHL start for a team other than the Sabres, Miller did not seem completely comfortable and saw the Blues trailing by two after one. Alex Killorn, who skated in his 100th career NHL game Tuesday night, scored the opening marker at 7:08 of the first period.
The Lightning then doubled it up with a power-play marker from Tyler Johnson, as he tapped in Hedman's shot from the blue line, for his 18th goal of the season. Before Johnson's tally on the man advantage, Tampa Bay had gone just 2-for-25 on the power play. Martin St. Louis and Hedman received helpers on the goal.
Yet the Lightning saw their lead erased by the end of 40 minutes of play. St. Louis came within one goal three and a half minutes into the second frame when Jaden Schwartz took a shot through Mark Barberio's legs and Patrik Berglund scored on the rebound.
Then after an angered Backes took a slashing call that put the Blues on the penalty kill late in middle period, T.J. Oshie tallied a shorthanded goal to even the game at two. Oshie whizzed his way around St. Louis in the slot with strong stickhandling and backhanded a shot into Bishop's cage at 17:04.
Less than four minutes into the final period, the Blues found themselves with their first lead of the game after some solid passing by their top line. Oshie sent the puck behind the net to Backes, who then fed it to Alexander Steen in front of the crease. Steen then shot a backhander top shelf for the go-ahead goal.
Vladimir Tarasenko potted an empty net goal with 39 seconds remaining as the Lightning looked physically taxed after skating with a sixth attacker and Bishop on the bench since the 1:43 mark.
UP NEXT – The Lightning return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for practice Wednesday and then open up a six-game homestand Thursday evening versus division rival, the Buffalo Sabres. The Bolts then welcome their second straight Atlantic Division opponent Saturday as they close out a four-game series with the Boston Bruins at home.
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