Skip to main content

Blues-Lightning Preview @NHLdotcom

The St. Louis Blues didn't make any major moves before the trade deadline, but they're still hoping their recent surge will give them a chance at their first playoff berth since 2004.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, meanwhile, made it clear they're looking to the future.

A few new faces could be in the lineup for the lowly Lightning on Friday night, but more will be at stake for the visiting Blues as they look to get back on track after their winning streak was snapped earlier this week.

St. Louis' 12-4-5 run since Jan. 15 has put the team within striking distance of one of the final few playoff spots in the Western Conference, but the Blues (28-27-8) didn't shake up their young core or trade away any of their veterans before Wednesday's deadline.

Instead, they will try to continue to ride goalie Chris Mason up the standings.

Mason is 10-4-4 with a 1.66 goals-against average in his last 18 appearances, and he had allowed exactly one goal in five straight starts before Tuesday night's 5-0 loss to Detroit.

"We're talking about a team that, I guess we have the second-best record in the league over the last 20 games (going into Tuesday's game)," coach Andy Murray said. "But right now, that feels kind of empty just because you like winning and you hate losing."

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Blues came out strong against the Red Wings, but they failed to maintain their momentum after Detroit's Marian Hossa left the ice on a stretcher following a hit by St. Louis' Roman Polak early in the first period.

"It seemed to slow down the fire we had," Mason said. "I don't know it was the time delay or the situation, but we definitely didn't come out the same or play the same after that."

The Blues remained in 12th place in the West, but they're within 10 points of fifth-place Vancouver - and much closer to a number of other teams.

Tampa Bay (21-31-12) has been out of the playoff discussion for some time, and its 4-10-2 record in its last 16 games has not helped. Since goalie Mike Smith was injured Jan. 30, backups Mike McKenna and Karri Ramo have combined to go 4-8-2 with a 3.35 GAA.

"Losing is miserable," center Ryan Craig said.

After the Lightning lost 3-1 to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, they traded away veterans Mark Recchi and Steve Eminger in separate deals before the deadline, although they held onto center Vincent Lecavalier after the team captain had been the subject of trade rumors.

Defenseman Matt Lashoff and right wing Martins Karstums, both acquired from Boston for Recchi and a draft pick, could join Tampa Bay for Friday's game, along with former Florida Panthers defenseman Noah Welch.

"We believe (Lashoff and Karstums) are NHL-ready," general manager Brian Lawton told the Lightning's official Web site. "... We are confident that with added playing time (Welch) will help our team continue to improve."

This game will be the Blues' first visit to Tampa since Dec. 8, 2005, when the Lightning won 5-4. The clubs' most recent meeting on Feb. 5, 2008, in St. Louis ended with the same result.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.