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game recap

Lightning beat Pens 2-1 to clinch playoff berth

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

NHL.com

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Lightning beat Pens 2-1 to clinch playoff berth
Pittsburgh Penguins 1, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Now that they've made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for more.

"It's not our goal to get in and be happy with the first round," forward Ryan Malone said Thursday night after a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins officially clinched a playoff berth for the Bolts..

Martin St. Louis scored his 30th goal of the season, Steve Downie also scored and Dwayne Roloson stopped 36 shots 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."

Bylsma and the Pens are likely to see a lot more of the Lightning -- the teams are likely to meet in the opening round.

Owner Jeff Vinik, who bought the team just over a year ago and hired GM Steve Yzerman and coach Guy Boucher during the summer, was ecstatic.

"They deserve it," 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 third-period 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, skated at the morning practice but is not ready yet to participate in full practices. The Penguins aren't saying if or when he will play again this season. They are 19-13-5 without him.

Downie put the Lightning ahead by backhanding a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury 4:51 after the opening faceoff. St. Louis made it 2-0 at 10:13 by whipping a shot from the lower right circle just under the crossbar to the short side. Vincent Lecavalier set up the goal with a check on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang that freed the puck for St. Louis -- who reached the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in his career.

"The credit goes to the players," 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 6 assists and 8 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, ending 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.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
04:51
TBL
Steve Downie (9) Backhand shot - ASST: Simon Gagne (19), Steven Stamkos (45)
1 - 0 TBL
10:13
TBL
Martin St. Louis (30) Wrist shot - ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (28), Victor Hedman (23)
2 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
04:31
PIT
Mike Rupp (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Kovalev (16)
2 - 1 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
00:39
PIT
Paul Martin  Interference against  Steve Downie
11:21
TBL
Pavel Kubina  Hooking against  Maxime Talbot
14:20
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier  Hooking against  Pascal Dupuis
2nd Period
01:59
TBL
Victor Hedman  Hooking against  Chris Conner
11:45
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Cross checking against  Steve Downie
11:45
TBL
Steve Downie  Slashing against  Marc-Andre Fleury
17:43
PIT
Tyler Kennedy  Roughing against  Victor Hedman
17:43
TBL
Victor Hedman  Roughing against  Tyler Kennedy
17:43
TBL
Steve Downie  Boarding against  Tyler Kennedy
19:28
PIT
James Neal  Holding against  Dominic Moore
19:59
TBL
Steven Stamkos  Interference on goalkeeper against  Marc-Andre Fleury
3rd Period
08:31
PIT
Mike Rupp  Tripping against  Ryan Malone
15:36
PIT
Alex Kovalev  Cross checking against  Sean Bergenheim
goalie stats
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 24TOI: 58:56
Saves: 22EV: 21 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .917SH: 0 - 0
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 37TOI: 59:59
Saves: 36EV: 29 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .973SH: 2 - 2