The Florida Panthers took on the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum tonight in a game that didn’t mean much for either team. Tampa Bay would face Pittsburgh or Philadelphia in round one of the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs regardless of the outcome.
Scott Clemmensen got the start for Florida as expected, as Tomas Vokoun wasn’t quite ready to play. Vokoun stated that he doesn’t want the season to end on a negative note, and will get the start in goal tomorrow.
The Panthers trailed early after a Vincent Lecavalier goal, but managed to set up Jason Garrison for his 5th of the season to tie the game midway through the opening frame. However, Malone countered with just under 4 minutes remaining in the 1st, and the Cats were unable to recover. This was the Panthers 10th straight loss (7 of which finished in regulation).
On a positive note, Mike Santorelli played another solid game and tallied his 20th goal of the season. This losing streak has also all but assured them of a top 5 (probably top 3) draft pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Florida will finish their season at home tomorrow as they host their division rival Washington Capitals. The Capitals have locked up the top spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Panthers will finish last.