Once more, the St. Louis Blues open the door late in the game, just to slam it shut.
Thursday night’s 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning proved to be an exciting one, coming right down to the wire. Fortunately, the Blues who jumped out to a 4-1 lead, were able to hang on.
Vladimir Tarasenko, who leads St. Louis in goals with 13 on the season, got off to a quick start, scoring two of his three points in the first period. This is Tarasenko’s fourth career hat trick. Kevin Shattenkirk added two more goals to round out the Blues scoring.
Goalie Jake Allen had 22 saves on the night, improving to 12-3-3.
The St. Louis Blues are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, and have won six in a row on their home ice.
Tampa Bay fought their way back into it but came up short, dropping their fourth game in a row.
Cedric Paquette scored twice for Tampa Bay, with his second goal trimming the Blues’ lead to one with 8:02 left in the game. Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning.
Tampa goalie Ben Bishop, a St. Louis native, replaced the ineffective Andrei Vasilevskiy early in the second period. Vasilevskiy had a rough showing surrendering four goals on just 16 shots. However, the hometown ice hasn’t been kind to Bishop, who has yet to win a game in the Scottrade Center.
A possible problem?
In what is becoming an all-too-familiar scenario, the Blues start out strong, ease up, and allow their opponents to score late, cutting into a once comfortable lead.
Coach Ken Hitchcock is aware of the pattern, and when asked about it here is what he had to say:
“We’re not going to talk about that anymore. We’re going to use a different approach. It’s the disease that we’re not going to speak about. We’re just going to go out quietly and find a cure. We’re not thrilled by it, but the more we talk about it, the more it seems to manifest itself. … It’s in the DNA; we’ve got to get rid of it. We’ll figure out a way.”