"It's all about trying to get momentum for the playoffs," Lecavalier said after the Lightning won their final regular-season home game. "The playoffs are, obviously, the most important thing. We're happy, but we're not satisfied."
The victory gave Tampa Bay 101 points for the season. The only time the Lightning recorded more was 106 points in 2003-04, the final season before the shootout.
"It's an achievement," first-year Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "You've been battling with the big boys. We've done pretty good. I want to do great."
Lecavalier put the Lightning up 3-1 when he deked goalie Scott Clemmensen to ice and lifted home a wrister on his penalty shot 1:27 into the second period. The Tampa Bay captain also had a first-period power-play goal.
Ryan Malone and Pavel Kubina also scored for the Lightning, who will be making their first postseason appearance since 2007. Tampa Bay will be the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and will play either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia in the opening round.
"I was proud of our effort," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "I thought we came out ready to play and we played right to the buzzer."
The Lightning end the regular season Saturday night at Carolina, which can assure itself of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a win. Boucher said Malone, who recently returned from a mid-body injury that cost him 21 games won't play, and didn't rule out resting first-liners like Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
"We're going to think about our team," Boucher said.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 when Malone scored at 16:08 of the first. Clemmensen stopped Malone's backhander, but the rebound went off Florida's Shawn Matthias and into the net.
Lecavalier gave the Lightning a 1-0 advantage with a power-play goal from the low slot 4:08 into the first. St. Louis assisted on the goal, giving him a career-high 66 assists. St. Louis has 37 assists and 41 points on the power play this season. The right wing has seven assists and 11 points during an eight-game points streak.
Kubina extended the lead to 4-1 on a power-play goal with 4:54 to go in the second. Kubina stopped a personal 27-game goal drought.
Garrison tied it at 1 with 8:01 left in the first. The defenseman has two goals -- both against Tampa Bay =- in his last 26 games.
Santorelli got his 20th goal of the season early in the third.
"I think our mindset was just to come in and work hard," Santorelli said. "There is a lot to improve on, and our goal is to get better and better."
Stamkos, who has 44 goals this season, has just one, into an empty net, in his last 12 games after getting 20 in his first 21.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (23) ASST: Martin St. Louis (66), Steven Stamkos (46)|
1 - 0 TBL
|Jason Garrison (5) ASST: Mike Santorelli (21), Evgenii Dadonov (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ryan Malone (14) ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 TBL
|PS - Vincent Lecavalier (24) ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 TBL
|PPG - Pavel Kubina (4) ASST: Ryan Malone (24), Steve Downie (21)|
4 - 1 TBL
|Mike Santorelli (20) ASST: Joe Callahan (1), Evgenii Dadonov (9)|
4 - 2 TBL
|Power Play %||20.5%||16.9%|
|% on Road||8.6%||13.5%|
|% at Home||29.2%||20.0%|
|Michal Repik Boarding against Mike Lundin|
|Mattias Ohlund Interference against Sergei Samsonov|
|Dominic Moore Hi-sticking against Bill Thomas|
|Marc-Andre Bergeron Hooking against Bill Thomas|
|Clay Wilson Holding against Steven Stamkos|
|Joe Callahan Tripping against Sean Bergenheim|
|Bill Thomas Hi-sticking against Sean Bergenheim|
|Simon Gagne Hi-sticking against David Booth|
|Pavel Kubina Tripping against Evgenii Dadonov|