ORLANDO — Second-round pick Adam Erne enjoyed a strong NHL preseason debut Wednesday, scoring twice in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 shootout victory against St. Louis in front of 6,162 fans at Amway Center in the preseason opener for the Lightning.
Erne, the 33rd overall pick in the June draft, redirected a Mark Barberio wrist shot with 1:14 left in the second period for a power-play goal, while he was all alone in front to receive a pass from Cedric Paquette for a second power-play goal 1:31 into the third period. Erne also notched the shootout-clinching goal.
“I thought I played well, and it’s not all about the goals, I thought our line played really well defensively,’’ Erne said. “I get two goals, but the first one, Barberio is a great shot, and the second one was an unbelievable pass from (Paquette), so without that, there is no chance.’’
Tom Pyatt had the tying goal 9:11 into the third period, while J.T. Brown added a pair of assists. Valtteri Filppula added an assist and a shootout goal.
Dmitrij Jaskin scored a pair of goals for the Blues while Jaden Schwartz also scored as St. Louis jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
It wasn’t all positive for Erne, who delivered a blow to the head of Vladimir Sobotka in the first period that drew a penalty and could warrant review by the league. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said it should result in a suspension.
“I was facing one way, then I turned the other way and he was kind of right there, and I wanted to hit him, I didn’t think I was going to hit his head, I didn’t mean to and I apologize,’’ Erne said. “It was not intentional. ... It was my fault, but I didn’t intend to do that.’’
As planned, Cedrick Desjardins left after playing 31:51, allowing two goals on 14 shots. Kristern Gudlevskis received his first NHL action in relief, allowing one goal on 14 shots before stopping both St. Louis attempts in the shootout.
After a slow start — Tampa Bay was outshot 14-2 at one point in the second period — the Lightning started to turn things around as the shots ended 28-27 for St. Louis.
“I really enjoyed the way they played,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You are looking for (them to) compete ... and the guys hung in there. They probably had every reason to see the score was 3-0 and hang their head, but they didn’t, and that’s what we are looking for in the guys. So if they are going to keep giving efforts like this ... it’s continuing to make the decisions tough for us.’’
The lineup for Tampa Bay’s “home’’ debut at the Forum tonight against Nashville will showcase many of the team’s well-known names.
The forward line combinations are expected to be: Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Brett Connolly; Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Richard Panik; Jonathan Drouin-Vladislav Namestnikov-Nikita Kucherov and Pierre-Cedric Labrie-Tanner Richard-Geoff Walker.
The defensive pairs run during Wednesday’s practice included: Victor Hedman-Andrej Sustr; Eric Brewer-Sami Salo and J-P Cote-Matt Taormina.
Desjardins and Riku Helenius are scheduled to play in goal.
B.J. Crombeen returned to Amway Center on Wednesday, where he appeared in a pair of games last year with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League during the NHL lockout. Crombeen signed with Orlando to try to keep in game shape during the labor dispute, but as an active member of the NHL Player’s Association negotiating committee, the veteran’s time with the team was short-lived.
“It was a good experience for me, the organization and the fans were great,’’ Crombeen said. “I really enjoyed my time with them, even though it was just for a couple of games over the weekend.’’
Nuts and Bolts
LW Henri Ikonen left the game looking woozy after his head struck a St. Louis player in the leg. He did not return and will be evaluated today. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of the Navy Yard shootings this week in Washington. ... Nate Thompson, Matt Carle and Crombeen all wore the “A,’’ serving as alternate captains.