Tampa Bay Lightning veteran Martin St. Louis takes aim at his second career Art Ross Trophy as his club wraps the regular season on Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.
The 37-year-old St. Louis leads in the NHL with 58 points, two ahead of teammate Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who has not played since March 30 due to a broken jaw and is unlikely to return to game action until the playoffs.
St. Louis won the league's scoring title with 94 points in 2003-04 and led his club to its first ever Stanley Cup championship that season.
Stamkos, meanwhile, has 29 goals on the season, three back of Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the league lead. It would take quite a performance by the young winger tonight to overtake Ovechkin and capture his second straight Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, an honor he won last season with a 60-goal campaign.
Given the point totals of St. Louis and Stamkos, it isn't surprising that the Lightning were shut out for only the second time this season when they lost 2-0 at the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
The first instance came on March 14 versus the New York Islanders and was also a 2-0 final.
Anders Lindback made 22 saves versus Boston for Tampa Bay, which had snapped a six-game slide with Wednesday's 5-2 win over the playoff-bound Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I feel for our guys because everybody makes mistakes. I think, truthfully, we may have made less mistakes than the Bruins did, but we couldn't bury our chances," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
The Panthers were also held without a goal in their last game, but the struggling club was shut out for the seventh time this season when it lost 4-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
Jacob Markstrom was beaten four times on just 17 shots in the loss, Florida's seventh in the past eight games that clinched the league's worst record. The Panthers are last in the NHL with 34 points.
"That stinks, when you're at the bottom of the pile," said Florida head coach Kevin Dineen said. "But that is the brutal reality of our situation and it's something we have to sit on for four months."
That will give them a 25-percent chance at landing the top pick of the upcoming draft in Monday's lottery and the Panthers will select no lower than second overall.
Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is considered top North American prospect by Central Scouting, while Finnish center Aleksander Barkov tops the European list.
The Panthers snapped a seven-game slide (0-4-3) versus the Lightning and won for the first time in their last four trips to Tampa with a 3-2 shootout win on April 2.
Peter Mueller had the lone goal of the shootout and Markstrom made 39 saves before stopping breakaway attempts on Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman and Stamkos.