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Bolts blanked by Cats in regular season finale

Tampa Bay will begin the First Round on the road in Sunrise

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

The Lightning closed the regular season on Monday night with a 4-0 loss to the Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

With the defeat, Florida takes the two seed in the Central Division and will host Tampa Bay when their First Round series begins. No start date for that series has been announced.

Florida capitalized on a turnover to register the lone goal of the first period at 15:19. MacKenzie Weegar stared the play in the Panthers' defensive zone by stripping Anthony Cirelli. On the ensuing rush, Weegar took a drop feed from Mason Marchment and snapped a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy to give the Panthers the lead.

Florida's second goal came courtesy of an unforced error from Vasilevskiy. With the Bolts on a power play midway through the middle frame, Vasilevskiy tried to leave the puck behind the net and was caught off guard as Juho Lammikko came sweeping through, stole the puck and scored on a wraparound.

Carter Verhaeghe put the game out of reach with a goal on an odd man rush less than three minutes into the third. Alex Wennberg made it 4-0 later in the period, scoring on a deflection at 14:07.

Even with a rash of injuries forcing Tampa Bay to shuffle the forward lines and defensive pairs, the Lightning managed to create several dangerous scoring chances only to be stymied by Chris Driedger all night long. The Florida netminder finished the night with 30 saves, including a pair of breakaway stops on Brayden Point and Blake Coleman.

The power play was the Lightning's biggest shortcoming on Monday, going 0-for-5.

With Barclay Goodrow (upper-body, out indefinitely) and Ondrej Palat (lower-body, day-to-day) added to the injury report, Alex Barre-Boulet drew back into the lineup along with Daniel Walcott, who made his NHL debut.

Walcott was in the starting lineup alongside Gemel Smith and Mathieu Joseph, marking the first time in modern NHL history that a team's starting forward line featured three African American players.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
FLA | 15:19 MacKenzie Weegar (6) - Mason Marchment, Juho Lammikko

2nd Period
FLA | 8:23 Juho Lammikko (4) - Unassisted - SHG

3rd Period
FLA | 2:27 Carter Verhaeghe (18) - Anthony Duclair, Aleksander Barkov
FLA | 14:07 Alex Wennberg (17) - Radko Gudas, Keith Yandle

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