TAMPA — More than anything Saturday night, Marty St. Louis wanted to provide perspective.
"Proud" and "really excited" was how the Lightning wing described finishing the lockout-shortened season as the league's points champion.
There also is a certain satisfaction about being, at 37, the oldest player to do it, passing the Rangers' Bill Cook, who was 36 when he won in 1933.
But St. Louis — who had a goal and an assist in the season-ending 5-3 loss to the Panthers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and who earned his second Art Ross Trophy with 60 points on 17 goals and a league-best 43 assists — mentioned twice that it probably would not have happened had Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby not gone down with a broken jaw.
In fact, it took 25 days for Crosby, who finished tied for third with 56 points, to be overtaken.
St. Louis also was adamant that "I'd trade this for a chance to play in the playoffs any time."
Even so, teammate Steven Stamkos said, "To get rewarded like that in a season not many people will remember, it is something to remember. We're happy for him."
There was concern, as well. Stamkos said his left knee was hurt late in the third period when checked by Florida defenseman Filip Kuba.
Stamkos finished second in the league in goals, with 29 to the 32 of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, and points, with 57. He and St. Louis are the 27th pair of teammates to finish one-two in points but only the second from a nonplayoff team, the Elias Sports Bureau said. Chicago's Doug Bentley and Roy Conacher did it in 1949.
"It's incredible what he's doing," captain Vinny Lecavalier said of St. Louis. "Age is just a number for him. He's a smart player, making all the right decisions, and he's just as fast as he was when he was 22."
"As you get older, you always have to answer questions about your age and slowing down, so you're fighting those," St. Louis said. "You've got to give yourself the best chance to be successful, taking care of your body, putting the time in so that you are ready to have a good season."
In a meaningless game against Florida, St. Louis was ready to play and scored from the front of the net, whacking in a rebound of Teddy Purcell's snappy shot.
"He wanted to win the game," coach Jon Cooper said. "It's a tribute to everything about him. He puts the team first."
"When you play the right way and do the right things, hopefully you get some points along the way," St. Louis said.
About his points title, "It's in the books. It's something nobody can take away from you."
That was the only perspective that mattered.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Carle 5 (St. Louis), 5:00. 2, Tampa Bay, Malone 6 (Lecavalier, Hedman), 13:14. 3, Florida, Bjugstad 1 (Strachan, Brennan), 16:54. Penalties—None.
Second Period—4, Florida, Fleischmann 11 (Huberdeau, Shore), :54. 5, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 17 (Purcell, Stamkos), 5:47. Penalties—Mueller, Fla (tripping), 16:59; Hedman, TB (slashing), 16:59.
Third Period—6, Florida, Upshall 4 (Selleck), 5:30. 7, Florida, Fleischmann 12 (Huberdeau, Kuba), 13:53. 8, Florida, Goc 9 (Huberdeau), 19:11 (en). Penalties—Fleischmann, Fla (slashing), :47; Petrovic, Fla (hooking), 6:53; Lecavalier, TB (interference), 10:29; Petrovic, Fla, major (fighting), 15:46; Lecavalier, TB, major (fighting), 15:46.
Missed Penalty Shot—Pouliot, TB, 1:10 first.
Shots on Goal—Florida 9-14-9—32. Tampa Bay 9-10-12—31. Power-play opportunities—Florida 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 2. Goalies—Florida, Markstrom 8-14-1 (31 shots-28 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 10-10-1 (31-27). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:31. Referees—Frederick L'Ecuyer, Dennis LaRue. Linesmen—Bryan Pancich, Michel Cormier.