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Lightning stays on roll, tops Panthers 5-2

TAMPA — The Lightning's game with the Panthers on Tuesday night was a perfect trap as Tampa Bay, with the league's top offense, faced a Florida squad with just eight goals and, at 1-4-0, ranked last in the 30-team league.

So, with big games coming up Friday and Saturday against the Jets and Rangers, it would have been easy for the Lightning to look ahead.

Tampa Bay, though, took care of business with a 5-2 victory at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, its fourth straight win.

Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell, Cory Conacher and Vinny Lecavalier had a goal and assist each. Steven Stamkos scored his fourth and goaltender Anders Lindback made 26 saves.

Tampa Bay (5-1-0) had two power-play goals. It killed off four penalties to increase its streak to 13, and Tyrell's first goal of the season gave the Lightning a league-best 13 players with a goal.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 first-period lead with an 11-6 shot advantage.

With 9:40 left, Florida's Keaton Ellerby picked up 19 minutes in penalties, including a 10-minute misconduct, for jumping B.J. Crombeen, who appeared to extend his leg to trip Florida defenseman Ed Jovanovksi.

Ellerby and Crombeen each got five minutes for fighting. But Ellerby also got two minutes for instigating and two for unsportsmanlike conduct while Crombeen got just two additional minutes for tripping.

Tampa Bay cashed in on the power play for a 1-0 lead with 8:51 left on Stamkos' goal from in front of the net off a pass from St. Louis.

The Panthers answered 15 seconds later when Peter Mueller scored after Lindback misplayed the puck behind the net.

The Lightning went ahead 2-1 with 7:11 left on Conacher's goal that began with Victor Hedman's perfect pass and ended with Conacher fighting off Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver before beating goalie Jose Theodore with a close-in shot.

The Lightning added two goals in the second period and seemed to have a third, but Conacher's breakaway goal was nullified by a holding penalty as he tugged on Weaver's jersey to gain separation.

Tampa Bay went ahead 3-1 3:18 into the period when Tyrell's pass toward the net deflected in off Pyatt. Tyrell made it 4-1 with 4:21 left when from in front of the net he converted Pyatt's pass.

Lecavalier's power-play goal made it 5-1 in the third, but the Lightning allowed a shorthanded goal to Tomas Fleischmann to make it 5-2.

View Damian Cristodero's blog at lightning.tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes

Lightning 2 2 1 5
Panthers 1 0 1 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 4 (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 11:09 (pp). 2, Florida, Mueller 2, 11:24. 3, Tampa Bay, Conacher 3 (Hedman), 12:49. PenaltiesEllerby, Fla, served by Huberdeau (instigator, unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 9:40; Crombeen, TB, minor-major (tripping, fighting), 9:40; Weaver, Fla (tripping), 14:29; Malone, TB (tripping), 16:07.

Second Period4, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 3 (Tyrell), 3:18. 5, Tampa Bay, Tyrell 1 (Pyatt, Pouliot), 15:39. PenaltiesConacher, TB (holding), 10:38; Stamkos, TB (tripping), 16:34.

Third Period6, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 3 (Pouliot, Conacher), 14:13 (pp). 7, Florida, Fleischmann 2, 14:31 (sh). PenaltiesPyatt, TB (holding), 6:05; Upshall, Fla (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:34; Kuba, Fla (slashing), 12:43; Kopecky, Fla, served by Huberdeau, minor-misconduct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:13. Shots on GoalFlorida 6-11-11—28. Tampa Bay 11-10-12—33. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 0 of 4; Tampa Bay 2 of 5. GoaliesFlorida, Theodore 1-4-0 (33 shots-28 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 4-1-0 (28-26). A19,204 (19,204). T2:31. Referees—Rob Martell, Kevin Pollock. LinesmenJonny Murray, Tim Nowak.

Lightning stays on roll, tops Panthers 5-2 01/29/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 6:32pm]

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