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Halak helps Tampa Bay edge St. Louis

Mar 18, 2012 - 6:00 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves as the St. Louis Blues downed the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Patrik Berglund, David Perron and Jaden Schwartz, who was playing in his first career game, recorded goals for St. Louis. T.J. Oshie added two assists as the Blues improved to 2-1-1 in a seven-game road trip.

Also with the win, St. Louis became the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff berth this season.

"We got a power-play goal, we got a [short-handed goal] and we got a 5-on-5 goal and when you do that on the road, that's good stuff," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Brendan Mikkelson lit the lamp while Dwayne Roloson stopped 18-of-21 shots in the Lightning's fifth loss in six games.

The Blues struck first with five minutes left in the opening period while shorthanded when Alex Pietrangelo and Berglund broke down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush.

After Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman made a move towards Pietrangelo at the right circle, he fed a pass through Hedman's legs to Berglund at the left of the net and he tipped it into the open net.

Then, while on the power play as time was winding down in the period, Chris Stewart wristed a shot on goal from the right circle that was blocked, but Schwartz snapped home the rebound with 36 seconds left to give St. Louis a 2-0 advantage.

Perron gave the Blues a three-goal lead 2:47 into the second period when he cruised down the right side of the offensive zone on a short breakaway and fired a shot from the right circle past the glove of Roloson and into the short side.

Halak denied Brett Connolly on a breakaway in the second period to keep Tampa Bay off the board, but Mikkelson put an end to his shutout bid with 4:11 left in the game with a one-timer into the top-right corner.

"We tried to step on the gas there toward the end," Mikkelson said. "We never quit, we never stop battling, I think that's one of our trademarks as a team. It's something we take pride in is never quitting and battling until that final buzzer goes."

Game Notes

Blues forward David Backes suffered a left foot injury in the second period and did not return for the third...The 19-year-old Schwartz was selected with the 14th overall pick of the 2010 draft by St. Louis...The Blues improved to 17-15-4 on the road this season, while the Lightning fell to 21-13-2 at home...Tampa Bay went 0-for-3 on the power play...St. Louis converted on 1- of-2 power plays.