NHL

Jets eliminated from playoff contention with loss to Lightning

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The Canadian Press
3/31/2012 11:21:37 PM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos had another big game in an amazing season.

Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 56th goal of the season 45 seconds into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.

Stamkos picked up his NHL-record fifth OT goal in one season, scoring from the left circle. He had been tied with nine others.

"Those moments create memories," Stamkos said. "That's pretty special for as long as the NHL has been around."

Stamkos had seven shots on goal, won 52 per cent of his faceoffs and played nearly 27 minutes in a game where both teams were eliminated from the playoffs.

"A never satisfied attitude, a charging through attitude," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said.

Ryan Malone scored twice, giving him five goals in the past two games, for the Lightning.

"We're playing with a lot of pride," Malone said.

Goalie Sebastien Caron made 26 saves in his second appearance since signing with Tampa Bay on March 19 and his first NHL start since Nov. 10, 2006.

"As I went through the game, I was feeling more comfortable," Caron said.

Antti Miettinen and Kyle Wellwood scored for Winnipeg.

"There's too much emotion in this game," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "I can't even think past this game and the disappointment of it. This isn't a good time for me to talk about anything past tonight."

Malone flipped the puck over Grant Clitson in the neutral zone, raced the past the defenceman and beat goalie Ondrej Pavelec to put the Lightning up 1-0 with 4:23 left in the first. Malone's rebound goal on the power play tied it at 2 at 7:25 of the third.

Miettinen and Wellwood had goals 3:08 apart in the second. After Miettinen scored from the slot off a pass from Evander Kane 6:20 into the period, Wellwood gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead with a rebound goal at 9:28.

"We're not going to stop fighting," Jets right wing Chris Thorburn said. "We're going to finish out the season on a high note."

Caron made a strong glove save on an in-close shot by Ron Hainsey during the first. Caron joined the Lightning after playing in Germany.

Pavelec stopped a shot by Stamkos during a breakaway late in the third.

A brief scrum took place after Hainsey cross-checked Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis into the boards at 12:21 of the second. Hainsey received the only penalty.

Malone and Hainsey had a lengthy fight early in the third. Tempers flared again at 8:29 when seven penalties were issued after the players gathered behind the Lightning net.

"There was everything tonight," Boucher said.

NOTES: Caron beat St. Louis in his start in Nov. 2006. ... Tampa Bay RW J.T. Brown, signed out of Minnesota-Duluth on Wednesday, made his NHL debut. ... Lightning C Nate Thompson returned after missing seven games due to an upper-body injury. ... Chicago senior adviser Scotty Bowman was at the game, and spent the second intermission watching a TV discussion speculating about him and the vacate Montreal GM job. Bowman said he is very happy with his current role with the Blackhawks. Chicago's GM is Bowman's son, Stan.

Ryan Malone (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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