The Tampa Bay Lightning will look on to the postseason after failing to clinch the Atlantic Division with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Tampa Bay Lightning closed out the 2017-18 season by picking up a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. While not the end of the world, it’s definitely not how the Bolts Nation expected the season to come to a close.
Right off the bat, Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal shoots and the puck deflects in off the skate of Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. This would give the Hurricanes an early advantage.
With less than three minutes left, Justin Williams caught Lightning backup goaltender Louis Domingue off guard and scores from along the boards. The Hurricanes extended their lead to 2-0 at the end of the first.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Early in the second period, things started to pick up for the Bolts. Ryan Callahan scored his fifth goal of the season to bring some spark to the Lightning. While there was some definite progress made, this would be the end of the scoring in the second.
Halfway through the third period, Palat tied things up for the Lightning. J.T. Miller was able to pass the puck beautifully across the zone to set Palat up for his 11th goal of the season. Pally’s goal definitely made up for the deflection in the first which gave the Hurricanes the early lead.
Sixty minutes would not be enough to bring the final game of the regular season to a close. However, only 49 seconds of overtime was needed. Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm scored his 16th goal of the season to end the game at 3-2.
Domingue made 38 saves on 41 shots, with a .929 save percentage. The Bolts end the season with a 54-23-5 record and 113 points overall.
Nikita Kucherov ends the season with 100 points in 80 games played. While he may have led the NHL in Points for a majority of the season, Kucherov finished off the season in third place. Andrei Vasilevskiy ends the season with a Goals Against Average of 2.62 in 65 games played. Vasilevskiy is tied with Connor Hellebuyck for the most goaltender wins on the season, with 44 wins.
Looking to the postseason
The Boston Bruins will play the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. This will determine how the playoff matchups will begin. If the Bruins win, they will clinch the Atlantic Division and the number one seed of the Eastern Conference.
The top seed of the Atlantic Division will play the New Jersey Devils. The second seed of the Atlantic Division will play the Toronto Maple Leafs. Only time will tell how this story will play out. Unfortunately, the Lightning’s destiny now sits in the hands of the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning will soon be back to work at the Amalie Arena. The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially kick off on Wednesday night. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is expected to return for the playoffs, after missing the final two games of the regular season with a Lower-Body Injury.