Lightning squash Carolina's playoff hopesApr 10, 2011 - 4:00 AM
Carolina came into the game needing to win to punch its ticket to the postseason, but the loss, coupled with the Rangers' win earlier on Saturday, will keep them out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
The Hurricanes finished the 2010-11 campaign with a mark of 40-31-11, two points back of the Rangers for the final spot.
The Lightning finished their season 46-25-11 and will begin the playoffs as the fifth seed in Pittsburgh.
Brett Clark, Dominic Moore and Steven Stamkos all scored for Tampa Bay, which went 21-14-6 on the road this season. Mike Smith stopped 42 shots in the win.
Cory Stillman and Chad LaRose lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who were 22-14-5 in front of the home crowd this season. Cam Ward stopped 29-of-33 shots in the loss.
"This is a tough one to swallow cause we've worked extremley hard down the stretch to get into position," said Ward. "You don't want your season to end this way and have the whole summer to think about it."
Tampa Bay took the lead 6:45 in as Moore left a drop pass at the right point and Steve Downie blasted a shot on net that saw Moore chip in the rebound for his 18th of the season.
With 8:41 to play, the Lightning made it a 2-0 game when Lecavalier skated in on a breakaway and slipped a backhand between the pads of Ward for his 25th of the season.
It was 3-0 less than two minutes later after a flurry of shots in the Tampa Bay end were stopped by Smith and the Lightning transitioned the other way. Skating down the left end, Teddy Purcell sent a pass from the left boards to the front and Stamkos chipped it in for his 45th marker.
Clark made it a 4-0 game nearly 11 minutes into the second as he took a Lecavalier feed in the high slot and snapped a wrister home.
Carolina got on the board 2 1/2 minutes later on the power play thanks to Stillman's 12th of the season.
The Hurricanes got to within two on a nice play by LaRose as he skated in down the right side and from the low right circle his snapshot went into the top of the net 8 1/2 minutes into the third.
Carolina pulled Ward from the net while on the power play with three minutes to play and its season on the line, but Gagne and St. Louis tallied empty- netters.
Tampa Bay took four of the six games against Carolina this season...The Lightning closed the season with wins in seven of their final eight games...Carolina had won five of six prior to Saturday.
- TAMPA BAY: 6
Apr 9 9:33 PM
- Tampa Bay Empty Net Goal - Martin St. Louis (31), at 18:24.
Lightning 6, Hurricanes 2 3rd - 1:36Apr 9 9:31 PM
- Tampa Bay Short-Handed Empty Net Goal - Simon Gagne (17), at 17:44.
Lightning 5, Hurricanes 2 3rd - 2:16Apr 9 9:30 PM
- Carolina Goal - Chad LaRose (16), at 8:33.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 2 3rd - 11:27Apr 9 9:11 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 4
End of 2nd
Apr 9 8:38 PM
- Carolina Power-Play Goal - Cory Stillman (12), from Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner at 13:31.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 1 2nd - 6:29Apr 9 8:27 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Brett Clark (9), from Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis at 10:52.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 0 2nd - 9:08Apr 9 8:20 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 3
End of 1st
Apr 9 7:44 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Steven Stamkos (45), from Teddy Purcell and Simon Gagne at 13:17.
Lightning 3, Hurricanes 0 1st - 6:43Apr 9 7:31 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Vincent Lecavalier (25), at 11:19.
Lightning 2, Hurricanes 0 1st - 8:41Apr 9 7:27 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Dominic Moore (18), at 6:45.
Lightning 1, Hurricanes 0 1st - 13:15Apr 9 7:18 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Apr 9 7:08 PM
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