TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Despite losing another important player, the first-place St. Louis Blues again found a way to win.
Oskar Sundqvist had two goals before leaving with an injury, and the Blues beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Wednesday night. The defending Stanley Cup champions were already playing without injured stars Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen.
“It goes back to, we’re a team,” St. Louis left wing Zach Sanford said. “Everyone on this team from top to bottom can step up and maybe take over a little more of a role or change their role a little bit to help the team be successful. We’ve been doing a good job with it.”
Blues coach Craig Berube said Sundqvist, who left in the second period with a lower-body injury, will be evaluated Thursday.
Sanford and Brayden Schenn scored in the third and Jordan Binnington stopped 32 shots for the Blues. Ivan Barbashev had three assists after going six games without a point.
“I thought it was a good hockey game all around,” Berube said. “Back and forth. Overall a pretty solid game.”
Tampa Bay got goals from Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves.
“I thought it was two good teams going at it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “In the end, if you really break it down, they got us on the special teams side of things. We both got power-play goals, but we gave up a shortie and eventually it ended up being the difference.”
The Lightning, who entered scoring on an NHL-best 41.2% percent of their power plays at home, went 1 for 4. St. Louis scored on one of its two chances.
After Sanford scored the tiebreaker from the right circle at 8:21 of the third, Schenn made it 4-2 at 11:07 on the power play shortly after a 5-on-3 ended.
“We fought hard and we stepped up to the plate,” Binnington said. “Got a couple big goals there and held the fort down.”
Point pulled the Lightning to 4-3 at 14:23, also on a power play.
Kucherov opened the scoring 3:53 into the second before Sundqvist scored a short-handed breakaway goal at 5:31 and then put the Blues up 2-1 3:09 later.
Sundqvist has five goals over his last five games.
Cirelli tied it 2-all with 8:21 left in the second when he dove into the crease to poke a loose puck into the net. He has five goals in the last six games.
NOTES: Lightning C Steven Stamkos (lower body) sat out his third straight game but took part in the morning skate. … Blues D Jay Bouwmeester ended a 13-game point drought with an assist on Sundqvist’s short-handed goal. C Tyler Bozak, pointless in the previous eight games, had two assists. … Tampa Bay D Erik Cernak served the first of a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo D Rasmus Dahlin on Monday. … Blues D Robert Bortuzzo sat out the second of his four-game suspension for cross-checking Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson on Saturday. … The teams completed their two-game season series in a nine-day span. The Blues won the other meeting 3-1 in St. Louis last week.
Blues: Finish a three-game road trip Friday night at Dallas.
Lightning: Play at Washington on Friday night.
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