TAMPA, Fla. – Brad Boyes and the St. Louis Blues are still fighting for their first playoff berth since 2004.
Boyes scored 27 seconds into overtime to cap a three-point game and give St. Louis a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. “Its been tough for me recently to find the back of the net,” said Boyes, who leads the Blues with 26 goals and nine game-winners. “Breaking away from the wall, it’s just trying to find a way to get it in there.”
Boyes, who also set up two first-period goals, won it after the Blues blew a two-goal lead in the final eight minutes of regulation.
Matt Pettinger cut it to 3-2 with 7:50 left, and Steven Stamkos pulled the Lightning even with 15.7 seconds to go.
Andy McDonald had a power-play goal and three assists, David Backes added a goal and an assist, and Keith Tkachuk also scored for St. Louis in the Blues’ fourth consecutive road victory.
St. Louis is 12th in the Western Conference with 66 points, one point behind Minnesota and two points behind Edmonton, Dallas and Anaheim in the tight race for the eight playoff spots.
“These are big points for us,” Blues coach Andy Murray said after his 200th game behind the St. Louis bench. “We have the second-best record in the NHL in the last 20 games, so yeah, there’s been a sense of urgency there.”
Martin St. Louis added a goal for Tampa Bay.
The Lightning are 4-11-2 in their last 17 games.
“You’re just looking for certain guys to keep working,” interim coach Rick Tocchet said. “There are a lot of jobs on the line.”
Tkachuk opened the scoring 5:43 into the second period. McDonald set up the play, luring Karri Ramo out of position with a cross-ice pass to Boyes in the right circle. Boyes then found Tkachuk in front of an open net.
McDonald made it 2-0 on a power play less than four minutes later, redirecting a puck that slid past Ramo from the left side of the crease.
St. Louis broke through for the Lightning on a power play at 3:28 of the third, taking a pass from Vincent Lecavalier and lifting a backhander past Chris Mason.
Backes restored the two-goal lead less than 3 minutes later, but Pettinger and Stamkos tied it for the Lightning.
Mason made 20 saves, and Ramo stopped 32 shots.
“I think this is the worst game I’ve played so far on this team,” Ramo said.
Notes: Lightning LW Gary Roberts likely has played his final NHL game. The 21-year veteran, already set to retire at the end of the season, hasn’t practiced with the team since clearing waivers Wednesday. … Andy Murray coached his 200th game for St. Louis. … Tampa Bay recalled RW Brandon Segal from Norfolk of the AHL for the second time in four days. He played his first NHL game Tuesday night against Pittsburgh. … Lightning rookie G Mike McKenna is a St. Louis native. … RW Martins Karsums and D Noah Welch, acquired Wednesday in trades with Boston and Florida, respectively, made their Tampa Bay debuts.