How fitting a Lightning rookie sent Tampa Bay into the postseason. Tyler Johnson scored a shorthanded goal at 12:41 of the third period to help Tampa Bay beat Montreal 3-1 in front of an announced crowd of 18,808 at The Forum. With the victory - coupled with losses by Washington and New Jersey - the Lightning, with five rookies in the lineup on Tuesday, clinched a berth in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and just the second time since 2007. Tampa Bay also pulled even with the Canadiens for second in the Atlantic Division, which carries home ice advantage in the first round, with a game in hand. Tampa Bay won the season series with Montreal 3-1, with three of the four games decided in overtime/shootout. The goal by Johnson was his 23rd of the season, tying him with Steven Stamkos for most by a rookie in franchise history. In a season in which the Lightning have faced the loss of Stamkos to a broken leg, the drama surrounding the eventual trade of franchise stalwart Marty St. Louis and at one point this season carrying 11 rookies on the roster, Tampa Bay overcame all of that to earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup. “You have to give the guys in the room a lot of credit, because probably the hockey world is now opening their eyes to who these guys are,'' Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “But I'm sure for most of this season there were a lot of people that probably looked at our roster and kind of discarded it a little bit. And these guys are starting to make a name for themselves in this league.'' Ryan Callahan - acquired from the New York Rangers in the St. Louis trade - scored on the power play, rookie Ondrej Palat had two assists while second-year pro Alex Killorn iced the game with an empty net goal with 44.3 seconds left. Ben Bishop made 25 saves for the Lightning. Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal while Carey Price was stellar in net, finishing with 28 saves.
Bolts clinch playoff spot with victory over Habs
Tampa Tribune | Apr 2