ST. LOUIS (AP)Jordan Binnington was looking for a place to hide.
The St. Louis goalie gave up three goals on the first nine shots he faced Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, including an embarrassing miscue on a shot that bounced off the glass and went into the net under his feet.
But he stayed the course despite the early struggles, stopping the next 24 shots – plus two in a shootout – as the Blues rallied for a 4-3 win against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
”That’s part of the life being a goaltender,” Binnington said. ”It’s not always going to go your way. I heard it hit the stanchion and I kind of didn’t see it again. It’s the first time that’s happened to me.”
Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone goal in a shootout and St. Louis erased an early three-goal deficit to beat the Lightning for the fifth straight time.
”They got some goals early that put us on our heels,” O’Reilly said. ”We settled and took a deep breath, all of us. We started to chip away. We got on our toes a little more.”
Tampa Bay scored two goals in a team-record five seconds and jumped to a 3-0 lead after just 5:29 in a matchup between teams that have combined to win the past three NHL titles.
O’Reilly, Logan Brown and Ivan Barbashev scored for St. Louis in regulation.
Binnington bounced back to make two clean stops in the shootout. Corey Perry hit the post for the Lightning.
St. Louis coach Craig Berube never considered taking Binnington out after the difficult start.
”He’s our guy,” Berube said. ”I had no reason to pull him other than a momentum swing for our team. I didn’t want to take him out for that purpose. I just didn’t feel that was the right move. I can’t fault him on the goals, so I’m not going to pull him.”
Binnington bounced back to stop Victor Hedman and Ross Colton in the shootout.
Barbashev scored 71 seconds into the third period to tie it 3-all.
Erik Cernak and Perry scored five seconds apart in the opening period to stake Tampa Bay to its 3-0 lead.
Anthony Cirelli added a goal for the Lightning, who last beat St. Louis 3-0 on Dec. 13, 2017.
The goals by Cernak and Perry were the fastest in Lightning history, eclipsing the mark of nine seconds, set three times, the last on March 25, 2016, against the New York Islanders.
Cernak’s goal, which stunned Binnington, came right after Perry had pushed the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal.
”We went to overtime, we had our chances,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. ”We were a tired group at the end there.”
Brian Elliott made 30 saves for the Lightning. He played for St. Louis from 2011-16.
Brown brought the Blues to 3-2 with a drive from the wing midway through the second period. His father, Jeff, played for St. Louis from 1989-94.
Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos missed the game to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple’s second child. Stamkos left St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon to return to Tampa, Florida. He has 11 goals and 13 assists.
St. Louis C Tyler Bozak was placed in COVID-19 protocol. He became the seventh Blues player to miss time due to COVID-19 issues this season.
”It’s tough,” Berube said. ”It’s going to be a part of every day in the NHL.”
Lightning: Host the Blues in a rematch Thursday.
Blues: Open a two-game Florida road trip at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
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