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Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay

Lightning clinch first playoff berth since 2007

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

TAMPA, Fla. -- Just making the postseason is not enough for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It's not our goal to get in and be happy with the first round," left wing Ryan Malone.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race >>

Martin St. Louis scored his 30th goal of the season, helping the Lightning clinch their first playoff berth since 2007 with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Steve Downie also scored for the Lightning, who have won three in a row following a four-game losing skid.

"A very good team," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "A scary team."

Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves, including 16 of 17 shots he faced in the third.

"They deserve it," new Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik said. "We're excited to be in the playoffs. It's great to see the results on the ice."

Pittsburgh, which had won its previous four road games, got a goal from Michael Rupp. The Penguins missed out on a chance to move within two points of Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia, which lost 1-0 to Atlanta.

"We've got to finish strong," Rupp said. "Our goal is to have Game 1 [of the playoffs] in Pittsburgh."

Penguins center Sidney Crosby, sidelined for nearly three months with a concussion, resumed skating with his teammates in practice. The Pittsburgh captain, out since Jan. 6., is not ready yet to participate in full practices. A return to game action for the postseason has not been completely ruled out.

Downie put the Lightning up 1-0 with a backhand rebound goal at 4:51 of the first.

St. Louis made it 2-0 with 9:47 left in the opening period. Vincent Lecavalier set up the goal with a check on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang that resulted in St. Louis picking up a loose puck and then beating Marc-Andre Fleury from just below the right circle.

"The credit goes to the players," first-year Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's a bunch of new people trying to accomplish something. Everybody trying to do their part. We wanted to change the culture."

Lecavalier has six assists and eight points during a six-game point streak. The Lightning captain has 12 assists and 24 points in his last 23 games.

"It's the beginning," Lecavalier said. "It means a lot. We had a few tough years."

Rupp cut the deficit to 2-1 on the Penguins' seventh shot of the period on Roloson 4:31 into the third. The center stopped a personal 13-game goal drought.

"I think it showed in the second and the third the way we can control a game and really press on a team," Penguins center Jordan Staal said. "If we start off like that and do that for three periods, it's tough for a team to face that."

Pittsburgh, including five failed chances Thursday, has just two power-play goals in its last 50 opportunities.

Notes

  • Malone returned after missing 21 games due to a mid-body injury.
  • The Penguins are 19-13-5 this season with Crosby out of the lineup.
  • St. Louis has scored a goal in three consecutive games. The right wing has scored 30 or more goals in a season five times.
  • Fleury had 22 saves.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Martin St. Louis picks the right time to score his 30th goal of the season to lead his team to an important win. (Getty Images)
Martin St. Louis picks the right time to score his 30th goal of the season to lead his team to an important win. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (45-25-8)0011
Tampa Bay  (42-24-11) «2002
Three Stars
D. Roloson
TB


Saves: 36
Save Pct.: .973
M. St. Louis
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
S. Downie
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:51 - Steve Downie (9), Backhand Shot. Assist: Gagne, Stamkos
10:13 - Martin St. Louis (30), Wrist Shot. Assist: Lecavalier, Hedman
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
04:31 - Mike Rupp (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalev
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
39.0Martin, 2 min, Interference
11:21Kubina, 2 min, Hooking
14:20Lecavalier, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
01:59Hedman, 2 min, Hooking
11:45Orpik, 2 min, Cross-Checking
11:45Downie, 2 min, Slashing
17:43Hedman, 2 min, Roughing
17:43Kennedy, 2 min, Roughing
17:43Downie, 2 min, Boarding
19:28Neal, 2 min, Holding
19:59Stamkos, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
3RD PERIOD
08:31Rupp, 2 min, Tripping
15:36Kovalev, 2 min, Cross-Checking
Shots On Goal
 123T
PIT6141737
TB861024
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Marc-Andre Fleury58:56222
Dwayne Roloson59:59361
Game Information
Attendance - 20126
Referees - Stephane Auger, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen - Tim Nowak, Dan Schachte
 
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Colu 3 Final
OT
Wash 4
NYR 2 Final
NYI 6
Atl 1 Final
Phi 0
Tor 4 Final
Bos 3
Ott 4 Final
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Min 4
Nash 3 Final
Colo 2
LA 1 Final
Van 3
Dal 0 Final
SJ 6