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game recap

Lightning end season with third straight win

Brayden Point scores twice, has assist against Sabres

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Brayden Point scored two goals to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Amalie Arena on Sunday.

Braydon Coburn and Victor Hedman also scored for the Lightning (42-30-10), who went 8-1-1 in the past ten games to finish the season but failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves in his 23rd win for Tampa Bay.

 

WATCH: All Sabres vs. Lightning highlights

 

William Carrier and Evander Kane scored for Buffalo (33-37-12). Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in his first start of the season. The Sabres lost five of their final six games and finished last in the Atlantic Division.

Point's game-winning goal came with 1:24 left in the third period. His centering pass deflected off of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and caught Ullmark out of position to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead.

"I thought it was fitting the way the winning goal went in because the kid that worked the hardest got rewarded with a fluky goal," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Not enough guys like him. He had 18 goals and most of them came when we needed them down the stretch."

Kane tied it 2-2 at 11:17 with his 28th goal and 300th NHL point.

"We were down by a goal and knew we had to make a push," Kane said. "We tied it up but we got that bounce and that kind of summed up our season."

Video: BUF@TBL: Point tallies his second on deflected pass

Carrier gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 13:56 of the first period when he beat Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot to the far post.

The Lightning tied it 1-1 at 5:59 of the second period on Point's 17th goal. Hedman had the primary assist on the goal for his 300th NHL point.

Coburn gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead at 12:20 with a shorthanded goal. Alex Killorn pushed the puck to Vladislav Namestnikov to start a 2-on-1 rush and Coburn finished with a chip past Ullmark.

Hedman added an empty-net goal with one second remaining to make it 4-2.

"Probably wasn't the most disciplined hockey, not in the sense of penalties but in the sense of structure and smart play," Coburn said. "But the guys played hard and finished it off."

 

Goal of the game

Brian Gionta made a cross-ice saucer pass to Kane and he easily pushed the puck past Vasilevskiy.

Video: BUF@TBL: Kane nets Gionta's pass for 300th point

 

Save of the game

Vasilevskiy stopped Gionta on a breakaway with a pad save at 7:17 of the third period.

Video: BUF@TBL: Vasilevskiy denies Gionta's breakaway

 

Unsung performance of the game

Lightning forward Gabriel Dumont had a shot on goal, three hits and a blocked shot in 13:17 of ice time. He also won 5-of-8 faceoffs.

 

Highlight of the game

Hedman made a soft pass from the left circle to the front of the net where Point made the easy tap-in for his first goal of the game.

Video: BUF@TBL: Hedman records 300th point on Point's tip-in

 

They said it

"It's a big disappointment, the direction we are heading in, that's not a good feeling," -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma on finishing last in the Atlantic Division

 

"The last three weeks we've known we were out of it. We were battling through. I know some of us were hoping this game [Sunday] would mean a little more but that wasn't the case. Another year of not being where we want to be." -- Sabres forward Evander Kane

 

"You can't sit here and say the guys took the regular season for granted. We had three points less than we did last year. When you jump in the 92-to-96 point area you are flirting with danger. We rolled the dice and we lost. Last year we would have made it with this amount of points." -- Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

 

Need to know

Hedman finished the season with 72 points, second among defensemen in the NHL. … Kane had 14 goals in the final 29 games. …The Lightning are the only team in the NHL that had a positive goal differential and did not make the playoffs.

 

What's next

Sabres: Season over

Lightning: Season over

 

Video: Point's pair puts Lightning past Sabres, 4-2

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