ST. LOUIS (AP)Brayden Point had two goals and an assist, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Nick Perbix and Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning, who have won seven of their last nine and improved to 26-2-1 when scoring at least three goals. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had allowed three or more goals in four straight games, had 23 saves.
”I liked how we skated,” Point said. ”I thought the effort was there. I liked how we played tonight. We need to build on that.”
Tyler Pitlick and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Blues. Jordan Binnington, who trails Grant Fuhr by two wins for fourth-most in franchise history, had 26 saves.
Pitlick scored on a breakaway at for a 1-0 St. Louis lead at 2:39 of the first period. Pitlick took a pass from Alexey Toropchenko in stride and beat Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot through the five-hole.
”Came out pretty good and got the quick goal, obviously, and thought it was going pretty good,” Pitlick said. ”But that’s a good team over there, too, and we just need to keep going and keep building off that. I don’t know what happened.”
Point scored the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead. Point one-timed the puck from in the slot after being fed by Perbix with 7:38 left in the first, and added a power-play goal on a backdoor tap-in with 3:17 remaining. It gave him 25 goals on the season.
The Lightning scored twice in the second period while St. Louis had one.
A slap shot by Perbix from the right point gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead with 7:16 remaining.
St. Louis pulled within one again when Buchnevich scored with 6:05 left, but Killorn restored the two-goal lead on a backdoor tap-in with 1:38 to go.
Perbix exited late in the second period after he was on the receiving end of a heavy hit.
”Too bad he couldn’t finish the game,” Victor Hedman said. ”It’s not an easy league.”
Cooper believes Perbix won’t miss any more time.
”I don’t forsee this being a long-term thing,” Tampa Bay coach John Cooper said. ”We kept him off for precaution.”
St. Louis had just seven shots in the third period. The Lightning wanted to shut down the Blues, especially with Perbix out.
”That was a definite point of emphasis going into that period,” Cooper said. ”I thought we did an exceptional job. We didn’t give them too much. We didn’t have to raise the heart rate too much as opposed to the last two games.”
Blues coach Craig Berube said his team must improve.
”We’ve got to a better job of moving the puck,” Berube said. ”Better puck play in general and get more shots. We didn’t do that. you’re not going to get any easy games right now for sure. Teams are going to check and they’re going to check hard.”
BLUES HALL OF FAME CLASS
The inaugural class of the St. Louis Blues Hall of Fame was honored with a ceremonial puck drop before the game. They were also honored with a dinner Friday night. Members of the inaugural Blues Hall of Fame class are Red Berenson, Scotty Bowman, Bernie Federko, Bob Gassoff, Glenn Hall, Brett Hull, Dan Kelly, Al MacInnis, Bob Plager, Barclay Plager, Chris Pronger, Sid Salomon, Jr. and Sid Salomon III, Brian Sutter and Garry Unger.
Blues D Nick Leddy returned to the lineup Saturday. Leddy last played on Jan. 5 against New Jersey and had missed four games with an upper-body injury. Leddy has played in 39 games this season with no goals and 11 assists. … With the return of Leddy, the Blues assigned D Dmitri Samorukov to Springfield of the AHL. Samorukov, 23, was acquired by the Blues in an Oct. 9 trade from Edmonton.
Lightning: At Seattle on Monday.
Blues: Host Ottawa on Monday.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports