TAMPA, Fla (AP) Brayden Point scored his 50th and 51st goals, backup Brian Elliott made 32 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning stopped a four-game losing streak with a 5-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the regular-season finale for both teams on Thursday night.
Point joined Steven Stamkos (2009-10, 2011-12) and Vincent Lecavalier (2006-07) as the only Lightning players to reach the 50-goal mark. The playoff-bound Lightning will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in a first-round series starting next week.
“It means a lot,” Point said, “It means I play with good teammates, It’s pretty special. It’s something I’d never thought I’d ever do.”
Point collected the rebound of Nikita Kucherov's power-play shot in the slot, made a move around goalie Ville Husso and put it into the net with 9:13 left in the third for his 50th. The center added an empty-netter at 15:59.
“He’s been the straw that’s stirred the drink for this team pretty much all year,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Point is the fifth NHL player to have 50 goals this season.
The 38-year old Elliott, a free agent after the season, picked up his second shutout of the season and 45th overall. He had allowed six goals in each of his previous three starts.
Tampa Bay rested defensemen Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak in advance of the playoffs. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy served as the backup.
“Going into the playoffs, obviously, it's Vasy's net,” said Elliott, who was joined on the ice by one of his sons for the national anthem. “You try and take advantage of every opportunity. I said that throughout my career, and tonight was another opportunity to do something.”
Alex Killorn, Brandon Hagel and Michael Eyssimont also scored for the Lightning.
Husso stopped 27 shots.
The Red Wings, despite ending the season 0-4-1, finished with their most points (80) since their last playoff team had 93 in 2015-16.
“There's a lot of work that needs to be done in this locker room, and hopefully we're not in this position much longer,” Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said.
Larkin was pointless and wound up with 79 points, one short of becoming the first Red Wings player with 80 since Henrik Zetterberg in 2010-11.
Killorn made it 1-0 at 7:49 of the first with his career-high 27th goal on Tampa Bay's first shot. The Lightning didn't get another shot until the period's final 23 seconds from Anthony Cirelli and Point.
Elliott turned aside all 12 first-period shots he faced.
Hagel got his 30th goal 7:27 into the third.
Elliott had a nifty glove stop on Jake Walman in the second.
“We feel like we outplayed them in parts of the game, and just didn't capitalize on our chances." Larkin said.
Elliott is 50th on the career list with 279 wins. He tied Marty Turco and Jimmy Howard for his 66th place in goalie games played with 543. ... Point had five shots on goal, two blocked and one that missed the net. He had an assist, and finished the regular season with 44 assists.
Tampa Bay forwards Nick Paul (26 games), Corey Perry (25), and Cirelli (13) all have lengthy goal droughts. Perry is tied with Jason Arnott for 93rd on the NHL career goals list with 417.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.