WINNIPEG, Manitoba — On what must have been an emotional, roller-coaster day, Marty St. Louis ended it in the most fitting way possible.
St. Louis had the winning goal in the third period and added the empty-netter with 26 seconds left to seal a 4-2 victory against Winnipeg on Tuesday, hours after he was left off the Canadian Olympic roster.
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended a four-game road trip through Western Canada with six out of eight points. Defenseman Victor Hedman, a surprise to be left off the Swedish Olympic roster, set up the winner for St. Louis.
Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula also scored for Tampa Bay. Anders Lindback stopped 12 shots for the victory.
“I felt I was getting a lot of looks ... and the guys played well,” St. Louis said. “It was a big win for Lindy, and I’m just glad to finish the trip on a high note.”
Dustin Byfulgien had a goal and an assist, while Olli Jokinen also scored for Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec kept the Jets in the game with 29 saves.
It didn’t take long for the Lightning to strike when Filppula, earlier in the day named to the Finnish Olympic team, took a pass from Teddy Purcell before putting an inside-out move to get around Byfuglien and firing a wrist shot past Pavelec 1:20 into the game on Tampa Bay’s first shot of the night.
The Lightning defensive play was grounding the Jets’ offensive attack throughout most of the first period, limiting Winnipeg to one shot on goal through the opening 16 minutes. But with Filppula in the penalty box for slashing, Lindback flipped a puck over the glass to put his team down two players for a span of 1:47.
Just 13 seconds into the man advantage, the Jets tied the game when Byfuglien fanned on a one-timer attempt, allowing the puck to trickle down low to Mark Scheiffele, who found Jokinen across the crease for an open net at 16:43 on Winnipeg’s second shot of the period.
Hedman’s hooking call 3:31 into the second period put the Lightning on the penalty kill again, and Byfulgien cashed in with a wrist shot that beat Lindback to the short side, a shot Lindback no doubt would want back, for the second power-play goal of the night at 4:45.
The Lightning pulled even on a perfectly executed odd-man rush that started when Matt Carle poked the puck off the stick of Chris Thorburn in the Tampa Bay end. Alex Killorn pushed the puck forward and collected it to start the break up the ice. Killorn pulled up as a defender went by, and he found Nikita Kucherov, who quickly spotted Palat across the ice for his eighth goal of the season at 15:37. The goal extended Palat’s scoring streak to seven games, the longest in the league by a rookie this season.
In the third period, the Lightning took the lead on a power-play goal, and it was set up by the two players regarded to have been snubbed by their Olympic contingents. Hedman, at the center point with the puck on his stick, saw St. Louis down low raising his stick and calling for the puck. Hedman obliged and fired a slap pass that St. Louis directed into the net to gain a 3-2 lead at 8:39 for his 18th goal of the season.
“That’s why he is a champion that’s why he has a Stanley Cup ring, and that’s why he is our captain,” coach Jon Cooper said. “To go through something like that and respond the way he did, we can’t say enough about him.”
NOTES: G Ben Bishop remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and he will be evaluated further when the team returns home. ... J.T. Brown missed the game with an upper-body injury sustained at the end of Sunday’s loss in Edmonton. ... G Cedrick Desjardins endured several travel delays out of Toronto on Monday, and he didn’t take off until Tuesday at 4 a.m. He arrived in Winnipeg without his equipment. Desjardins wore the skates of goaltending coach Frantz Jean and used borrowed pads and gear.