Tampa Bay earned a point in a challenging road matchup against St. Louis.
The Lightning feel they should have left Scottrade Arena with two, however.
Cedric Paquette scored a first stanza goal that stood for over two-and-a-half periods, but the Blues tied the score with 3:10 remaining and netted the game-winner in overtime for a 2-1 victory.
The Bolts are winless in their last four games away from Amalie Arena.
St. Louis won its 12th game in 13 matchups and remains in a race for first place in the Central division with Nashville and Chicago.
“I feel for our guys a little bit,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I thought we played a solid road game. We came away with one point but thought it should have been two.”
Jaden Schwartz provided the heroics for St. Louis (33-13-4, 70 points), lifting a wrist shot over Lighting goaltender Ben Bishop’s left leg from in close 1:16 into overtime to help the Blues escape.
“They get a good bounce there and another guy that can put a puck in the net scores,” Cooper said.
St. Louis leading goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko provided his team a lifeline when it appeared all hope was lost. With the Lightning creating wave after wave of scoring chances in the third, Tarasenko conjured something out of nothing, ripping a shot top shelf over Bishop off a faceoff to tie the score 1-1 with 3:10 remaining in regulation.
“We lost a draw and the guy shot the puck into the net and that’s it,” Cooper said.
Up to that point, Tampa Bay (32-15-5, 69 points) had controlled play. Paquette continued to torch the net of late, scoring his sixth goal over his last four games to put the Lightning ahead 1-0 at 5:20 of a well-executed opening period. Alex Killorn started the scoring chance by wristing a shot on St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott from the left dot. Killorn’s try produced a rebound, and Paquette swooped in to roof the loose puck into the top of the goal.
Killorn and Jonathan Drouin gathered assists.
Drouin has a helper in four-straight games, five overall in that span.
Paquette runs his point streak to five games.
“I thought we controlled most of the play in the first period,” Cooper said. “We got the lead, which we wanted to do to put them on their heels a little bit.”
Tampa Bay held the Blues to two shots in the first, their lowest output in one period this season.
The Lightning had multiple opportunities to break the game open in the second but couldn’t solve the Blues’ Elliott, who robbed Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat on consecutive opportunities to keep his team within striking distance.
“We had a lot of Grade-A’s, and their guy kept them out,” Cooper said. “If we could have got that second one, we’re probably sitting here winning in regulation.”
Tampa Bay entered Tuesday’s game 22-0-1 when leading after two periods but couldn’t hold on to the lead like they have all season.
Elliott made 30 saves in an exceptionally strong performance.
Bishop, starting in his hometown of St. Louis, had 16 stops and nearly earned a shutout but was instead saddled with an overtime loss.
Tampa Bay outshot St. Louis 31-18, the Blues held below 20 shots for the first time all season.
St. Louis, though, made the most of their limited opportunities.
“I thought for 60-plus minutes, we had a solid effort,” Cooper said. “I know it’s only one point on the road, but if we can play like that on the road, we should be able to get some points.”
Tampa Bay stays in front of Detroit and Montreal in the Atlantic Division by two points. Montreal fell to Buffalo, which snapped a 14-game losing skid, and Detroit was idle Tuesday.
The Lightning wrap up their short, two-game road trip in Dallas against another Central Division opponent before returning to Amalie Arena for back-to-backs against the Los Angeles Kings (Saturday) and Anaheim Ducks (Sunday).