SAINT LOUIS — When Kris Russell started his day Thursday, he was a member of the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. Within 24 hours, he learned he had been traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Nikita Nikitin.
A mere 48 hours later, Russell beat Tampa Bay goaltender Mathieu Garon to give the Blues a 1-0 lead over the powerhouse Lightning. The goal held up as the eventual game winner.
With sustained pressure from the Blues’ fourth line, Russell received a pass from Evgeny Grachev with just over a minute left to go in the first period. Russell wound up and fired a shot from the left point that beat Garon after being deflected in front. Roman Polak received the secondary assist.
Late in the second, Alex Steen set up Kevin Shattenkirk for a wrist shot that beat Garon, putting the Blues up by two. The Blues dominated the second period, allowing only two Lightning shots on goal.
The Lightning had several chances to get back in the game in the third period as they upped their pressure on Brian Elliott.
When Barret Jackman took a penalty, the Lightning were handed a chance to halve the deficit. A mishandling of the puck behind the net, however, allowed David Backes to set up TJ Oshie for an empty net goal, creating a three-goal hole the Lightning would be unable to overturn.
Elliott faced 19 shots, successfully stopping all of Tampa Bay’s advances. Elliott is slotted to start Tuesday when the Blues take on the Detroit Red Wings at Scottrade Center. The game will air at 7 p.m. CST