Blues stay hot with rout of Lightning

Tampa, FL ( - Alex Steen recorded a goal and two assists in an impressive 6-3 victory for the St. Louis Blues over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

David Backes and T.J. Oshie notched a goal and an assist in the 693rd career triumph for Ken Hitchcock, which moved the Blues head coach past Dick Irvin and into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL's all-time wins list.

"They really took it to us in our building, so we knew we needed a great performance to have a chance tonight," said Backes. "We got that from a lot of guys."

Dmitrij Jaskin, Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored to keep St. Louis surging, with the club now 14-2-1 since Jan. 3. Brian Elliott did his part as well by coming up with 26 saves.

The Lightning entered Thursday's clash atop the Eastern Conference and 11-1-0 in their last 12 home outings. They received goals from Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson and Brett Connolly, but goaltender Ben Bishop was yanked after two periods for surrendering five goals on 34 shots.

"It's the effort," said Stamkos. "We have the skill and the talent that is going to put us over the top. It's just the details. And we weren't prepared for that at the beginning of the game."

St. Louis dominated play right from the outset, producing a 17-6 shot advantage for the first period and building a 2-0 lead less than five minutes in.

Steen set up the initial goal by causing a turnover in the neutral zone and sending an on-target pass for Oshie to put home with 1:50 elapsed. He had a hand in the second as well, splitting the Lightning defense with a crisp outlet feed to start a power-play breakaway that Jaskin finished with a wrister through Bishop's legs at the 4:47 mark.

Johnson's power-play tally 8:03 into the second period pulled Tampa Bay within one, but the Blues answered with three goals within a stretch of 3:08 later in the frame to go up comfortably.

Backes bumped Stamkos off the puck in the Tampa zone and sent it towards the net for Steen to redirect in for a 3-1 lead 7:45 prior to the second intermission. Less than two minutes later, Oshie won a race for a puck dumped into the Lightning end, then fed Backes for a successful riser with a beautiful no-look, between-the-legs give.

Stastny made it 5-1 by depositing the rebound of Patrik Berglund's close-range attempt into a wide-open net with 4:37 to go in the period.

Connolly gave the Lightning a brief lift by beating Elliott stick-side in space with 2:32 remaining in the second, and Tampa Bay carried the momentum into the third.

The Lightning cut the lead to 5-3 on Stamkos' 29th goal of the season, a tip- in of an Alex Killorn pass with 6:31 played in the final period.

Tampa Bay generated few chances the rest of the way, however, before Tarasenko sealed the outcome with an empty-net score with 1:05 left on the clock.

Game Notes

The clubs squared off in St. Louis nine days ago, with the Blues posting a 2-1 overtime win on Feb. 3 ... St. Louis is now an NHL-best 16-4-2 in interconference games ... The Blues improved to 18-4-2 this season when tallying at least one power-play goal ... Anton Stralman finished with two assists for Tampa Bay ... Lightning forward Cedric Paquette missed a second straight game due to an upper-body injury.