Lightning rally late for shootout win


Dirk Shadd / Tampa Bay Times / MCT

Adam Erne, left, celebrates his second goal of the game against the St. Louis Blues.

ORLANDO — Adam Erne scored two goals, helping the Bolts overcome a 3-1 third period deficit during the team’s first preseason game — as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in a shootout, on Wednesday night in front of an announced attendance of 6,162 at the Amway Center.

The Lightning started the game off slow – getting off only two shots on goal during the opening stanza of the game – but would pick things up in the final two periods, scoring three goals.

Erne scored Tampa Bay’s first goal of the game on a powerplay with 1:14 left in the second period thanks to an assist from Mark Barberio, cutting the Blues lead to 3-1 after two St. Louis goals from Dmitrij Jaskin and another from Jaden Schwartz, which gave the Blues an early 3-0 lead in the second stanza.

Following another Erne powerplay goal just 1:31 into the final period of regulation, Tampa Bay managed to cut St. Louis’ lead to 3-2.

“It felt great, they were two great plays,” said Erne about his two goals in regulation. “It was a great shot by Barberio and unbelievable pass from Paquette, so I give them a lot of credit for that.”

The Lightning did not look back and continued to attack — Tom Pyatt managed to tie the game at 3-3 with 10:49 remaining in regulation, scoring his first goal of the preseason for the Bolts.

St. Louis failed to capitalize on multiple shots on goal in the final ten minutes of regulation, taking the game into a five-minute overtime. Both teams remained scoreless in sudden death, leading to a shootout.

Tampa Bay goalie Kristers Gudlevskis came up big for the Bolts during key moments in the match up; saving a big shot late in overtime and blocking two of St. Louis’ shootout attempts, the biggest coming after Lightning center Valtteri Filppula buried his attempt into the back of the net.

Erne continued to shine bright during the shootout, getting the puck past Blues goalkeeper Brian Elliott and sealing the win for the Lightning, pushing his team to a 1-0 record to start the preseason.

“I think your first goal is a bit big even though it’s preseason,” said Erne following his first NHL preseason game. “Then it’s just a confidence booster to be able to score in a shootout, it’s just really exciting to be able to win it.”

Fan favorites Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, as well as goalie Ben Bishop, did not travel with the team to Orlando on Wednesday, as Tampa Bay prepares for three games in the next three days.

The Lightning now return to Tampa to play the Nashville Predators on Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.