Short-handed Blues haunt Lightning

Sunday, January 5, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- One short-handed goal is a hard blow. Two, on the same power play, is game over.

Petr Cajanek and Martin Rucinsky scored short-handed goals on consecutive shots to start the second period, matching the St. Louis Blues' season total for the first 39 games, in a 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

"You score two short-handed goals, the momentum has to shift your way," Rucinsky said. "That was a killer."

The Blues have 21 victories this season, 13 of them when their opponent has scored first. That was the case against the Lightning, who took the early lead on Andre Roy's goal with 6:51 left in the first period. They're 13-6-2-1 in that scenario.

Dallas Drake also scored in the second period and goalie Brent Johnson had a strong game with 26 saves after being yanked in his two previous starts, a pair of lopsided losses to Detroit and Chicago. The Blues are 9-1-1-1 against the Eastern Conference.

"In the first period he looked like he probably was pulled the last two games," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But I thought he got some composure and really was more comfortable as the game progressed.

"I think it was to be expected knowing your confidence is probably a little bit shaken up."

The Lightning have lost three in a row by a combined 13-5 and fell out of a first-place tie with Washington in the Southeast Division. They're 1-6-2-2 in their last 11 road games, getting outscored 35-19.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: