|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 14, 2023
Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 18,096
As Steven Stamkos eyes 500th goal, Lightning hit road to face Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Louis Blues
- The Lightning go for their first series sweep of the Blues since 2017-18 as they meet for the second and final time. Tampa Bay has won back-to-back meetings after losing the previous five and rolled to a 5-2 victory at home November 25, with Brayden Point scoring twice in the opening 8:04.
- Nikita Kucherov, who leads the Eastern Conference with 61 points, has six goals and 16 assists in his last 13 games after notching a goal and an assist in Thursday night's win over Vancouver. Kucherov has 12 points in his last 11 games versus St. Louis, including a goal and five assists in his previous two matchups.
- Tampa Bay is 2-for-17 (11.8 percent) on the power play in its last five road games after converting 9-of-20 (45.0 percent) chances in the previous five contests. Its 25 percent (17-for-68) efficiency rate on the road this season ranks seventh in the league.
- Pavel Buchnevich has two goals and four assists in a five-game point streak against Tampa Bay dating back to his days playing with the New York Rangers. Buchnevich, who had a goal and an assist in the loss earlier this season, had only one assist in his first eight matchups versus the Lightning.
- The Blues have killed off 16-of-17 penalties (94.1 percent) spanning their last seven home games but have only a 58.5 percent success rate overall (24-for-41) against Eastern Conference opponents.
- Nikita Kucherov ranks third among all players with 124 power-play assists since the start of the 2017-18 season, trailing only Connor McDavid (158) and teammate Victor Hedman (130) despite missing the entire 2020-21 regular season with a hip injury. Kucherov's 317 games in that span are 86 fewer than McDavid and 69 fewer than Hedman.
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Steven Stamkos will gun for his 500th career goal when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the St. Louis Blues Saturday.
Stamkos notched No. 499 while pumping seven shots on goal in a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at home Thursday.
"I'm trying, shoot the puck and things are going to happen," Stamkos said. "I had some good looks tonight. I just don't want guys to feel obligated to force the puck; that's human nature. That's something you do when guys are close to milestones like that."
Of course, fans in Tampa were urging him to shoot at every opportunity to get No. 500.
"That was cool," Stamkos said. "Obviously, it would have been nice to do it at home and in front of the crowd, but we'll see what happens on this road trip. But again, it's something that's not something that's keeping me up at night. It's like I've been preaching the whole time, when it's time to happen, it's going to happen."
Stamkos, 32, has 520 assists and 1,019 points in his career. His 499 goals ranks 47th all-time, one behind Lanny McDonald.
"He's been in the league 15 years, so 15 years of anticipation of getting a 500th goal," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "So it's a pretty exciting time. But I'm sure it can be a little stressful, too. Because you want to get it over with, but eventually it will come.
"When he gets it done, we'll reflect back and be like, 'Wow, that's a heck of a lot of goals.' But hopefully it will come soon."
This game will be the third game of a seven-game homestand for the Blues. They split two games with Calgary, winning 4-3 in overtime and losing 4-1 to start this stretch.
Blues coach Craig Berube believed his team failed to sustain enough offensive zone time in those games against Calgary.
"The last couple games for sure, I don't feel like we cycled the puck well enough," Berube said after Thursday's loss. "We still scored enough goals in the first game. Not tonight obviously.
"We need more guys that are willing to play that style of game."
Since the Blues are playing catch-up in the Western Conference playoff race, letting the Flames leave town with three points was not ideal. After Thursday night's game, Calgary held the first wild-card slot and the Blues were out the bracket, four points back of the Flames.
"If you look at the standings -- where we are, where they are, that was a big game standings-wise," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "It's over. It sucks. Regroup (for) a big game Saturday."
The Lightning won the previous game between these teams this season, 5-2 on Nov. 25. Brayden Point had two goals and an assist in that game while Nikita Kucherov had three assists.
Tampa Bay has won six of its last eight games. The Lightning scored 11 goals in home-ice victories over Columbus and Vancouver after scoring just three goals in their previous two.
This game in St. Louis is the opener of the Lightning's five-game road trip to Western Conference cities.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 13, 2023