NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Minnesota
(Saturday, April 2nd)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Minnesota 1
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Steve Downie scored the eventual game-winner midway through the second period, as the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Minnesota Wild, 3-1, at Xcel Energy Center.
Ryan Malone and Sean Bergenheim also lit the lamp for the Lightning, who secured their first trip to the postseason since 2007 with Thursday's 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh.
Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves for Tampa Bay, which has 97 points and sits three back of the Penguins for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning also sit six points back of Washington in the Southeast Division.
"It was a solid team effort," Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos said. "We didn't panic after they scored the first goal. We knew we were going to get some chances."
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the lone goal for the Wild, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves for Minnesota, which is officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Bouchard put home a rebound with 2:57 left in the first period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Tampa Bay tied the game at the 5:09 mark of the middle stanza. Dominic Moore led a 3-on-2 rush down the right side of the ice before making a cross-ice pass. Malone gathered the disc and put a backhander through the legs of Backstrom.
Downie made it a 2-1 game at the 9:05 mark. Simon Gagne controlled the puck at the side of the net and slid a pass to Downie, whose wrister found the back of the net.
Bergenheim took a 3-1 lead at the 7:58 mark of the third. Martin St. Louis led a 2-on-1 rush down the right side, and instead of shooting, passed off to his left. Bergenheim's snap shot beat Backstrom.
Roloson made 21 saves over the final two periods to secure Tampa Bay's fourth straight win.
"It's going to be a real challenge," Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner said of the team's injuries. "But it will give some other guys opportunities."
Tampa Bay and Minnesota split a pair of meetings this season...Wild defenseman Nick Schultz (post-concussion symptoms) will miss the rest of season. Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky (lower body) will also sit out Sunday's game in Detroit...Each team went 0-for-4 on the power play.
04/02 21:59:18 ET