Not having what Adam Erne called "an ideal start" to Wednesday's game, the forward changed direction quickly and scored two goals and the shootout game-winner. After the win, Erne took a second to reflect on his shot during the skills competition.
"It's a little intimidating going against Brian Elliott in a shootout," he said. "He just had a low stance and I saw the open shot and I took it."
And, as any prospect would, he shared his thrill of the goal.
"I was pretty excited," Erne said. "I kind of still see it in my head, it was just exciting."
When asked about Erne's performance, head coach Jon Cooper also had some fun, asking the media "Adam who?"
"Good for him," Cooper said. "He's an undrafted prospect two months ago and here he is in his first NHL game, gets two and the shootout winner. He played with a ton of confidence."
A GOOD FIRST LOOK
In his first game with the Lightning, center Valtteri Filppula appeared very comfortable with linemates Teddy Purcell and Alex Killorn, who offered a significant amount of offensive pressure against goaltender Elliott and the Blues.
"Definitely felt like the first game," Filppula said. "It also felt like we had some good shifts and I felt like as we moved on we got better, which is a good sign."
Feeling that the team continued to progress and skate better as the night went on, he also said Tampa Bay's endurance was key.
"I felt like we got in their end more and they tired out a little more than we did," he said. "Plus it's always more fun to play in their end, so that gave us more momentum."
When asked if he was happy with the Lighting's rebound in the third period Cooper responded, "that's an easy question."
"I really enjoyed the way we played," he said.
With so many teams nowhere near perfect, Cooper said he's more concerned about how players match-up against their NHL counterparts.
"Not a team in the league right now has mastered any of their systems," he said. "You're just looking to see if the guys compete, if they make mistakes and then condition them. We made a few tonight and the guys hung in there. They had probably every reason to look at the score and say 'it's three nothing, it's not our night,' but they didn't and that's what we're looking for."
ODDS 'N ENDS
After taking a hard hit along the boards, left-winger Henri Ikonen was slow to get up during the third period and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Wednesday night's official attendance at the Amway Center was 6,162.