TAMPA, Fla. – Martin St. Louis was quick to deflect all the credit after coming up with another big play for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
St. Louis scored with 1:56 left in overtime to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. St. Louis got a pass from rookie Steven Stamkos, broke to his right, and fired a shot past Steve Mason. St. Louis fell and slid into the boards after the goal, and was mobbed by his teammates.
“(Stamkos) made a great play for me in overtime,” St. Louis said. “But without (goalie Mike McKenna) tonight, I ain’t talking to (reporters) right now. He’s the reason why we won this game.”
McKenna, playing in just his 11th game this season, made 33 saves.
“It’s motivation enough to be in the NHL,” the rookie goalie said, “but when (your team is) not getting many shots and you’re facing (a) pile (of shots), then you know you’ve got to keep it tight.”
St. Louis has six goals and eight assists in a nine-game point streak for Tampa Bay, which ended a six-game home skid.
“Even if he’s having a tough night, he always keeps working hard and always tries to do the right thing,” Lightning interim coach Rick Toccet said. “Obviously, his perseverance gets the game winner for us.”
Columbus, which is closing in on its first post-season berth in the franchise’s ninth season, had dominated against Eastern Conference, compiling a 13-3-1 record and a 5-0 mark against the Southeast Division.
“We don’t have any success when we get away from the game plan and turn the puck over and force the puck way too much,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “And I’m going to talk to those players on it tomorrow.”
Jan Hejda put the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 at 4:21 in the third but the Lightning tied it midway through the period on Ryan Malone’s 25th goal of the season.
Tampa Bay had just seven shots after two periods and finished with 17.
“Obviously, we carried the majority of the (game) and we just failed to put them away,” said Mason, who finished with 15 saves. “We know what we did wrong – just failed to capitalize on chances.”
Stamkos also extended his point streak to six games, in which he has four goals and four assists.
Notes: Stamkos has four goals and four assists in a six-game point streak. … Columbus LW Fredrik Modin (knee) has missed the last eight games and 16 of 17.