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(Saturday, April 27th)
Final Score: Florida 5, Tampa Bay 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winning goal with 6:07 left to lift the Florida Panthers past the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 in the season finale for both teams.
Fleischmann finished with two goals and Scottie Upshall, Marcel Goc and Nick Bjugstad added one goal apiece for the Panthers, who finish the season last in the NHL with a dismal 15-27-6 record. Florida has missed the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years.
Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves in the win.
"It was a tough season and we had a lot of injuries," said Fleischmann. "We tried to move young guys into the lineup and they worked really well and learned. It will be good to see everyone again next year and see how things work out."
Matt Carle, Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis each tallied for the Lightning, who finish with an 18-26-4 record. Anders Lindback turned aside 27 shots, but allowed four goals in the setback.
St. Louis, who also had an assist, locked up the Art Ross trophy for leading the NHL in points with 60 (17 goals, 43 assists).
"The fact that Sidney (Crosby) got hurt is a big reason why I finished first," said St. Louis. "You try to make the best of that situation, but I'd trade that for the playoffs any day."
Carle and Malone scored the first two goals of the game to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead. Carle fired a slap shot from the blue line five minutes into the game. Malone followed 8:14 later with his sixth goal of the season. Vincent LeCavalier's shot was stopped by Markstrom, but the puck trickled right to Malone who pounded it into the back of the net.
Bjugstad potted a goal with 3:06 left in the first to get the Panthers on the board. Bjugstad fired a wrister from the right circle for his first career goal.
Fleischmann's goal, which came 54 seconds into the middle session, tied the game at 2-2.
St. Louis, though, put Tampa Bay ahead with his marker with 5:47 played in the second.
Upshall tied the game 5 1/2 minutes into the final frame with his goal off an Eric Selleck rebound.
Fleischmann potted the game-winner on a 2-on-1 break. Jontathan Huberdeau skated up ice, drew the defender then slid the puck over to Fleischmann, who beat Lindback with a wrister.
Goc added an empty netter with 49 seconds left to account for the final margin.
Fleischmann finished the season with 12 goals ... Florida went just 3-7 over its final 10 games ... Lightning center Steven Stamkos finished in second in the league with 57 points.
04/28 02:00:49 ET
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