ST. LOUIS – The Tampa Bay Lightning have figured out how to win on the road.
Paul Ranger scored twice, Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists and the Lightning won their fifth consecutive road game, 5-4 over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night. Jason Ward and Nick Tarnasky also scored for the Lightning. Vincent Lacavalier picked up a pair of assists for Tampa Bay, which is now unbeaten away from home since Jan. 5 at Ottawa.
The Lightning also own road victories during this streak over Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Florida and the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay still has the worst road record in the league at 8-14-2.
“I think we’re trying to simplify things on the road,” said goalie Johan Holmqvist, who has won five of his last six decisions. “For the most part, we try to keep it simple. That’s the way we have to do it.”
It was the Tampa Bay’s first win in St. Louis since Oct. 13, 1992, their first visit in their initial season.
“We just kept working and finding a way to win,” said Ward, who scored for the first time in 18 games. “That’s our goal right now.”
The Blues, who dropped their ninth game in the last 11, got goals from Brad Boyes, Keith Tkachuk, Jamal Mayers and David Perron.
“You shouldn’t have to score as many goals as we’ve had to score to get points at home,” Blues coach Andy Murray said.
Tarnasky’s fifth of the season gave the Lightning a 5-2 lead at 14:55, but Mayers would pull the Blues within two just seven seconds later. Perron scored with 22.1 seconds left to cut the deficit to one with a sixth attacker on the ice.
“They had some lucky breaks,” said Blues goalie Manny Legace, who stopped 19 shots. “I thought we outplayed them. They got the breaks, and that’s the difference in the game.”
Ranger’s 10th goal of the season gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead 7:13 into the third period. His back-hander deflected off the skate of Blues defenceman Bryce Salvador.
Ward, a healthy scratch in the Lightning’s last game, gave the Tampa Bay their third lead of the game after his shot from the slot deflected off a Blues stick and into the net at 4:25 of the third.
“Any time a goal goes in when you haven’t scored in a long time, it feels nice,” said Ward. “It feels like a little weight is lifted off your shoulders. I want to continue doing the same thing and hopefully things will start rolling for me.”
St. Louis gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead with his 20th goal of the season on the power play in the second period. St. Louis, stationed in front of Blues goalie Manny Legace, tipped Vincent Lecavalier’s shot home at 6:55.
Tkachuk tied the game at 2-2 with a power-play goal of his own, his 17th of the season and the 490th goal of his career. Tkachuk deflected Eric Brewer’s shot over Holmqvist’s blocker at 14:02 of the second.
The Lightning grabbed a 1-0 first period lead at 6:01 on ninth goal. Ranger took a nifty backhand pass from St. Louis and beat Legace with a wrist shot high glove side.
But the Blues tied the game 21 seconds later on Boyes’ 30th of the season, his ninth goal in the last 12 games. Boyes’ shot from the left circle deflected off Tampa Bay’s Craig MacDonald and over the glove hand of Holmqvist. It was the first road goal Holmqvist has allowed in the last 127:58.
Despite the victory, Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella was not pleased with his team’s play, especially down the stretch.
“You can’t even enjoy a win,” Tortorella said. “It’s just awful. It’s just no pride in detail.”
Notes: Ward’s last goal came on Dec. 20 against Toronto. … The Blues came into the game with a lifetime record of 10-1-0 against the Lighting in St. Louis. … The teams last met in St. Louis on Feb. 19, 2004. The Blues won 4-3 in overtime.