Though they’re still learning what type of player Miller can be, it took no time at all to pick up on the calming influence projected from the man in net.
“His disposition and the way he carries himself has a professionalism to it that I think over time just rubs off on everybody,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Coaches, players - from the time he comes into the building, the way he carries himself has a positive effect on everybody.”
Alexander Steen got the go-ahead goal early in the third period in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Miller, who got a huge ovation during player introductions, made sure it stood up in his first home start since the Blues acquired him from Buffalo.
“I don’t think it was just another game,” Miller said. “My sports psychologist will probably get mad at me for saying it’s just another game.
“It was special. It’s nice to get the win at home.”
T.J. Oshie’s short-handed goal tied it in the second period and he assisted on Steen’s 29th of the season for the Central Division leaders. Patrik Berglund started the comeback with his third goal in two games and Vladimir Tarasenko’s empty-net score cinched it with a half-minute to go.
Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson gave Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, a St. Louis native and former Blue, an early cushion against an opponent that’s had to come from behind in all four games since the Olympic break.
“I would have liked to have done a little better,” Bishop said. “It’s one of those things where it’s nice to play in front of family and friends, and it would have been nice to get the W.”
Miller made his second career appearance in St. Louis and faced just 17 shots against a team playing on the road for the eighth time in 10 games. He made a nice glove save on Martin St. Louis with just under two minutes to play.
The Blues also rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Phoenix 4-2 on Sunday. They’re 19-4-2 against the Eastern Conference, including 11-0-1 at home.
Tampa Bay is 3-7 in its last 10 games and was 1-3 on a four-game trip.
“We had multiple-goal leads in three of the four games and we led in every single game, but if you’re going to sit here and take 16 shots in one game, 17 shots in another game, 21 shots in another game and expect to win games, it’s not going to happen,” coach Jon Cooper said. “Unacceptable.”
Oshie slipped past St. Louis in front of the net and then beat Bishop with a backhander for the Blues‘ third short-handed goal of the season at the midpoint of David Backes’ minor slashing penalty. Backes dropped his gloves preparing to fight after trading hacks with Hedman. But Hedman backed off and the Blues captain was cordoned off by a linesman before skating off in anger.
Backes threw his helmet down the corridor on his way to the locker room, and didn’t play the rest of the period while getting medical attention from a blow to the jaw.