Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 in regular-season finale

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lightning coach Guy Boucher was adamant Saturday that his main concern going into the game with the Hurricanes was to keep his players healthy.

The regular-season finale didn't mean anything in the standings, he noted. The playoffs against the Penguins start in a few days.

"So, we don't want any of our guys hurt," Boucher said.

Some gamesmanship, perhaps? Tampa Bay certainly didn't hold back in its 6-2 victory at the RBC Center, and Boucher didn't hold players out, as he said he might.

He was stingier in the way he rationed minutes. Even so, Tampa Bay (46-25-11), which won seven of its last eight games and tied the team record for wins in a season, worked hard to knock its division rivals out of the postseason. (Carolina's loss gave the Rangers the East's final spot.)

All that happened while digesting the news assistant coach Wayne Fleming is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

"I'm super proud of the guys," goaltender Mike Smith said. "It's a game that doesn't mean anything for us and is Game 7 for (Carolina) to get into the playoffs. But the guys came out right from the first shift and gave their all."

It wasn't just being a spoiler, though center Steven Stamkos admitted there was some of that.

Players said they wanted to tie the record for wins in a season. Boucher wanted to maintain the team's 20 percent power-play efficiency, which it did at 20.5. He wanted to stay in the league top 10 in penalty kill; check, after going 6-for-7.

Most important, though, was tuning up for the playoffs.

"We wanted to see where the team was at playing those type of games, playoff games," left wing Simon Gagne said.

What did he find out?

"It's good," Gagne said. "We got some good stuff going on. I think everybody is starting to be at their top."

Six Lightning players scored. Stamkos got his 45th goal and Vinny Lecavalier his 25th. Marty St. Louis scored his 31st and added two assists, and Smith made 42 saves as Carolina had a 44-35 shot advantage. The team blocked 21 shots and had 12 takeaways to the Hurricanes' three.

Right wing Steve Downie left the game in the third period after aggravating the high ankle sprain that has bothered him since December, though Boucher said he took the player out only as a precaution.

"It was a real team effort," Boucher said. "We played half the night on the penalty kill. They had all the chances in the world to come at us. We played a game that was against all odds and played well."

"This," St. Louis said, "was a playoff game."

Lightning 3 1 2 6
Hurricanes 0 1 1 2
Lightning 3 1 2 6
Hurricanes 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Moore 18 (Downie, Bergeron), 6:45. 2, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 25 (St. Louis), 11:19. 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 45 (Purcell, Gagne), 13:17. PenaltiesPitkanen, Car (slashing), 4:29; Bergenheim, TB (holding), 8:03; Lecavalier, TB (cross-checking), 13:51; Lundin, TB (interference), 17:27.

Second Period4, Tampa Bay, Clark 9 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 10:53. 5, Carolina, Stillman 12 (E.Staal, Skinner), 13:31 (pp). PenaltiesMoore, TB (interference), 12:19; Tyrell, TB (tripping), 12:23.

Third Period6, Carolina, LaRose 16 (Bra.Sutter, McBain), 8:33. 7, Tampa Bay, Gagne 17 (Thompson), 17:44 (en). 8, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 31 (Purcell, Smith), 18:24 (en). PenaltiesKubina, TB (hooking), 5:25; Tyrell, TB (boarding), 15:44. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 18-10-7—35. Carolina 12-15-17—44. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 1; Carolina 1 of 7. GoaliesTampa Bay, Smith 13-6-1 (44 shots-42 saves). Carolina, Ward 37-26-10 (33-29). A17,805 (18,680). T2:25.

Lightning 6

Hurricanes 2

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 in regular-season finale 04/09/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 9, 2011 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win


    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …

  2. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But it still turned out to be a bad idea as he allowed four runs without getting through three innings.

  4. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  5. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)