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 defeats Florida Panthers 4-2

TAMPA — The puck was on Vinny Lecavalier's stick, and the goalie was pulled. All the Lightning captain had to do for a hat trick was dink in a close-in shot.

But Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov raced to get a stick in the way, and the puck never got to the net.

"I thought I was alone," Lecavalier said. "I should have taken a peek and protected it."

It was the only misstep for Lecavalier, who scored twice, including on a penalty shot, to lead Tampa Bay's 4-2 victory over the Panthers in front of an announced sellout of 20,444 at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday.

Tampa Bay (45-25-11) won the sixth of its past seven games and finished its regular-season home schedule tying the team's record of 25 wins set in 2005-06.

With 101 points, it passed 100 for the second time in franchise history. The 2003-04 team, which won the Stanley Cup, had 106.

Tampa Bay plays its regular-season finale tonight at Carolina, but it might not know until Sunday whether it plays the Flyers or Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.

It is certain, though, the series will start on the road as Pittsburgh's shootout win Friday over the Islanders locked the Lightning into fifth in the East.

"It definitely means a lot," Lecavalier said of the milestones.

"Think of where we came from the last two years."

Think of where Lecavalier was, too.

But with eight goals and 15 points in his past 13 games, the captain is, as coach Guy Boucher put it, "a complete menace out there."

Ryan Malone had a goal and two points. Pavel Kubina scored his fourth goal of the season and first in 28 games, and the power play, which was on a 1-for-19 streak, scored twice.

But that Lecavalier is heating up for the playoffs is quite a chip for the Lightning.

"He's always battling around the net," Malone said. "He's throwing his weight around, creating a lot of space for guys. He really wants it."

"It's all about how you feel and confidence," said Lecavalier, who has 24 goals. "Right now, I'm more calm.

He showed it on his penalty shot, avoiding the poke check of goalie Scott Clemmensen, deking Clemmensen to the ice and roofing a forehand for a 3-1 lead 1:27 into the second period.

"He's a force out there," Boucher said. "He's built up his game in terms of intensity and drive."

He slipped a bit with the empty net after what he called the "selfless play" from Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, who waited for Lecavalier to catch up.

St. Louis' pass was perfect. Lecavalier just couldn't avoid Kulikov.

"I got a little excited there," Lecavalier said.

What was that he said about being calm?

Lightning 2 2 0 4
Panthers 1 0 1 2
Lightning 2 2 0 4
Panthers 1 0 1 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 23 (St. Louis, Stamkos), 4:08 (pp). 2, Florida, Garrison 5 (Santorelli, Dadonov), 11:59. 3, Tampa Bay, Malone 14, 16:08. PenaltiesRepik, Fla (boarding), 4:01; Ohlund, TB (interference), 6:52; Moore, TB (high-sticking), 16:32.

Second Period4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 24 (penalty shot), 1:27. 5, Tampa Bay, Kubina 4 (Malone, Downie), 15:06 (pp). PenaltiesBergeron, TB (hooking), 8:48; Wilson, Fla (holding), 13:37; Callahan, Fla (tripping), 15:47.

Third Period6, Florida, Santorelli 20 (Callahan, Dadonov), 5:11. PenaltiesThomas, Fla (high-sticking), 2:32; Gagne, TB (high-sticking), 7:22; Kubina, TB (tripping), 12:10. Shots on GoalFlorida 9-9-7—25. Tampa Bay 12-14-7—33. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 0 of 5; Tampa Bay 2 of 4. GoaliesFlorida, Clemmensen 8-11-7 (33 shots-29 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 24-25-5 (25-23). A20,444 (19,758).

Lightning will play Flyers or Penguins

The Lightning is guaranteed to be the No. 5 seed in the playoffs and plays the No. 4 seed, which is guaranteed to be the second-place team from the Atlantic Division. The Flyers clinch the Atlantic by beating the Islanders tonight. If they lose (in regulation or shootout), the Penguins clinch it by beating the Thrashers on Sunday. The Flyers win any tiebreaker.

Lightning 4

Panthers 2

Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Florida Panthers 4-2 04/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 9, 2011 12:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Competition and uncertainty keep New Port Richey's Steve Miklos hooked on power boat racing


    HOLIDAY — If Steve Miklos could have it his way, every power boat race would take place in rough water. He finds the turbulent conditions calming, an attitude he's developed during a professional power boat racing career that spans hundreds of races dating back to 1991.

    Steve Miklos, the throttle man and owner of the No. 51 Sun Print Racing boat, poses at his shop in Holiday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Did a Cubs player give Trump the middle finger during a White House visit?


    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on …

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on social media.
The photo, taken by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly shows outfielder Albert Almora Jr. flipping a bird while standing just feet from Trump as the other players were gathered around his desk. [Gordon Wittenmyer via Twitter]
  3. Jeff Vinik contributing $6 million to fund Lightning's practice facility upgrade


    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  4. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  5. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …