RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Elias Lindholm scored 49 seconds into overtime, and the Carolina Hurricanes prevented Tampa Bay from clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Lightning 3-2 on Saturday night.
Justin Williams had a goal and an assist, Jordan Staal scored a deflected goal and Phil Di Giuseppe had two assists for the Hurricanes. They had lost three straight and four of five down the stretch during their ninth straight season without making the playoffs — tied for the third-longest such drought in NHL history.
Ondrej Palat scored the tying goal with 8:49 left and Ryan Callahan also scored for Tampa Bay. But with star Steven Stamkos out for a third straight game with an upper-body injury, the Lightning earned one point for going to OT but relinquished control of the Atlantic Division race to Boston.
The Bruins, who beat Ottawa 5-2 on Saturday night, will win the division and claim the top spot in the East if they beat Florida on Sunday night.
The winning goal came after Teuvo Teravainen charged between the circles and looked left to Lindholm, who one-timed it past Louis Domingue.
That came after J.T. Miller set up Tampa Bay’s tying goal when he found Palat with a slick pass and the defenseman one-timed it by Ward to make it 2-2.
Cam Ward made 32 saves against the NHL’s highest-scoring offense. The Lightning average a league-best 3.56 goals.
Domingue stopped 39 shots for Tampa Bay, which had won two straight and three of four.
NOTES: Staal won two awards following a vote of the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, earning the Steve Chiasson Award for determination and dedication to the sport and the Josef Vasicek Award for cooperation with the media. … The group also selected RW Sebastian Aho as team MVP.
Lightning: Await the start of their first-round series.
Hurricanes: Preseason camp starts in September.
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