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Blues face Lightning in first home game after big trade

by Brian Hunter

LIGHTNING (34-22-5) at BLUES (40-14-6)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 4-6-0; St. Louis 6-3-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues. Alex Killorn had a goal and two assists to lead the Lightning to a 4-2 win at Tampa Bay Times Forum on Nov. 2.

Big story: The Blues play their first game at Scottrade Center since trading for goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott. Miller won his debut with the team Sunday at the Phoenix Coyotes. The Lightning finish off a four-game road trip with the return of Steven Stamkos seemingly imminent and questions surrounding the future of Martin St. Louis.

Team Scope:

Lightning: This could be Tampa Bay's final game without Stamkos, who targeted March 6 against the Buffalo Sabres for his return from a broken leg sustained Nov. 11. But will it also be their final game with St. Louis? He's showing no signs of slowing down after becoming the oldest Art Ross Trophy winner last season, putting up 60 points in 61 games and one goal shy of his seventh 30-goal season. However, rumors continue to swirl following reports St. Louis asked for a trade back in January.

Forward Nate Thompson, who has three goals in the past two games, was adamant in his opinion the Lightning will not trade St. Louis.

"No, never," Thompson said in the Tampa Bay Times. "Marty is our captain, and he is our captain for a reason. He pushes the pace for us. He's the heart and soul of this team, and wants the best for this team."

Blues: Miller stopped 23 shots in his St. Louis debut and immediately found out how life figures to be different now that he's changed addresses. The Coyotes built a two-goal lead after 40 minutes, which might have buried Miller's former team the Buffalo Sabres, who rank 30th in the NHL in offense. The Blues are third in the League at 3.22 goals per game, and while they endured a scoreless streak of nearly 188 minutes heading into the third period Sunday, Patrik Berglund started and capped a four-goal rally in Phoenix to give Miller a 4-2 victory.

"It was exciting," Miller said in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I was anxious, nervous. I just wanted to help the boys out, give them a feel for what I'm all about. That was pretty impressive, the way the boys made adjustments, came together, had a great third period and get a big win."

Ott had two shots and three hits in 13:58 of ice time, seeing time on a line with Derek Roy and T.J. Oshie.

Who's hot: St. Louis had consecutive multi-goal games following the Olympics before he was held off the score sheet in the Lightning's 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. … Miller won his final start for the Sabres before winning his debut with the Blues, giving up two goals in each.

Injury report: Tampa Bay forward Valtteri Filppula (ankle) could return after missing the past four games. Defenseman Radko Gudas (lower body) left the game against Colorado in the second period and is day-to-day. … St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka (leg) is on injured reserve but expected to start skating this week. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (ankle) is also out.

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