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Gomez scores; Allen, Blues shut out Lightning

by Louie Korac / NHL.com

ST. LOUIS -- Jake Allen made 26 saves, and Scott Gomez scored his first goal for the St. Louis Blues in a 2-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scottrade Center on Tuesday.

Allen got the best of Tampa Bay goalie and friend Ben Bishop. The Blues draft picks played together from 2010-12 with Peoria of the American Hockey League before Bishop, a St. Louis native who made 22 saves, was traded in 2013.

"A shutout always makes it a little bit better, but we got the win, and I thought he played really well too," said Allen, who entered with a 3.02 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in three games. "It was a good battle by both teams. It was a close game. We got some chances both ways, but nothing major. Guys played well.

"... It was just good to get back in the game. I think between my starts, I've had almost 5-7 days between starts, so it's nice to get back in and first game at home is always fun. It was a tough test for us. We lost two in a row, I guess you could say, got one point in the other game, and we needed to bounce back."

Bishop gave credit where credit was due.

"He played really well," Bishop said of Allen. "We came up a little short, but it was a pretty good game. He's a good friend, and I'm sure I will hear it until the next game. I've got to get the next one. Hopefully, we can do it again."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock credited his goalie but said St. Louis did a good job making it difficult for Tampa Bay to move the puck out of its zone.

"Our goalie was good," Hitchcock said. "... He was solid all night. He was out on top of the crease, he was aggressive. It was good to see, real good to see.

"... I think the big thing for us is to play them, we just can't let them out clean, and when you let them out clean, they get loose. They've got so much continuity and so much speed in their team, they can really take advantage of it. I thought both teams played hard today. We got the lead, so it was an advantage for us with the way we're built right now, but I thought both teams played really hard today."

Troy Brouwer scored an empty-net goal for the Blues (6-2-1), who have won six of seven against the Lightning and four straight against them on home ice.

Brouwer played on a line with Gomez and rookie Robby Fabbri, who returned after missing six games with a concussion. It arguably was the Blues' most effective line.

"I thought Fabbri was dangerous all night," Hitchcock said. "He was hungry. He had four or five quality scoring opportunities. I thought he was jumping into holes. He got more and more comfortable as the game went on.

"I thought the line looked good. It looked like a line that was dangerous offensively, which is exactly what we needed to get going with here. These are great wins, and there's going to be some of these down the line, but we're going to have to keep manufacturing it. So any bonus we get from a line that can augment some offensive opportunities is really going to help us. They gave us a good boost today."

The Lightning (5-3-2), who ended a four-game trip 1-1-2, have not scored a goal in 120:17. They lost 1-0 in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"When you need one (goal), you've got to find a way to get it, and we're having trouble doing that," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It seems like the net is shrinking a little bit, and we hit a post. Teams go through this but had a couple of good defensive efforts.

"We led the League in scoring last year. At some point, it will all even out."

Gomez's goal was his 43rd career point against the Lightning. He was parked in front of Bishop and redirected Colton Parayko's wrist shot from the blue line at 15:59 of the first period.

It was Parayko's fourth point in the past four games (one goal, three assists), and the third time in nine games the Blues scored first.

"No matter what level you're at, it's always nice to get a goal out of the way," said Gomez, who played his fifth game for St. Louis. "Most importantly though, we got the win. That's a good hockey club over there, so we'll enjoy this for a bit and go right at the next one.

"I kind of got lucky and [Parayko] put it in the right place, and I just tipped it down and beat Bishop, and that's not easy to do. Give the kid credit. He saw it, he saw me get in that spot and he got it on net."

The Blues, who are shorthanded at forward because of injuries to Paul Stastny (foot), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder), said Tuesday they are bringing in veterans Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus on professional tryouts.

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