TAMPA BAY — In his first NHL game, former first round pick Jaden Schwartz scored the game winning goal as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1, leading the Blues to be the first team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In the first period, Patrik Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo connected for a beautiful short-handed goal. Berglund entered the Lightning zone, passed to Pietrangelo. Once Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Dwayne Roloson committed to Pietrangelo, he slid the puck back through the slot for an easy back door tip-in for Berglund.
At 19:24 of the first, Schwartz scored on the powerplay. Carlo Colaiacovo shot the puck from the point. After being deflected by Chris Stewart, Schwartz poked the rebound past Roloson, putting the Blues up 2-0 after the first. Schwartz is the 13th Blues player to score in their debut, and the first since Lars Eller did it in 2009.
Early in the second period, TJ Oshie flipped a puck into the air and behind the Lightning defense. David Perron scooped up the bouncing puck and wristed it past Roloson, giving the Blues a 3-0 lead that would not be relinquished.
Late in the third, Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson scored his first NHL goal to pull the Lightning within two. Despite a push from the Lightning, Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak stood solid in net, guaranteeing the Blues’ victory.
In the second period, Blues captain David Backes took a shot off the toe of his left skate and did not return. Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced following the game Backes will be reevaluated Sunday. The Blues played Saturday night without Jason Arnott (maintenance), Matt D’Agostini (concussion), Andy McDonald (shoulder), Alex Steen (concussion), and Kris Russell (concussion).
The Blues’ next game is Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. The game airs at 9 P.M. CST and airs on Fox Sports Midwest.