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Lightning ends trip standing tall after 6-2 win

The Lightning had a lot to deal with Tuesday night.

The game against the lowly Penguins was the last of a four-game road trip, and two hours before the start the team announced it traded for defenseman Darryl Sydor.

But nothing seems to shake up Tampa Bay these days, not even when defenseman Dan Boyle is stopped by Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on a penalty shot.

Maybe that is because Pittsburgh's Brian Holzinger missed on a penalty shot of his own.

Whatever, the Lightning earned a 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena and scored three-power play goals in a game for the first time since opening night.

Pavel Kubina had two power-play goals in 54 seconds of the second period and also had an assist. Cory Stillman had two goals, including the winner with 13:48 left which broke a 2-2 tie and sparked a four-goal third.

Fredrik Modin made the score 4-2, Martin St. Louis' 23rd goal and league-high sixth short-handed with 3:20 left into an empty net (after Fleury was pulled for a six-on-four power-play advantage) and Stillman's goal in the final minute ended the scoring.

Brad Richards tied a career high with three assists, all primaries. Stillman also had an assist. And John Grahame had 20 saves for his third consecutive victory and eighth in his past 10 starts. He improved to 7-1-1 against the Penguins.

The Lightning ended a remarkable road trip in which it also played three games in western Canada and finished 3-0-0-1, gaining seven of a possible eight points.

"It's as good as it gets, defenseman Dan Boyle said. "If you asked us if we were going to have this many points we would have taken it. Not that we expected it."

Added Kubina, "We had an unbelieveable road trip."

Tampa Bay also increased its lead in the Southeast over second-place Atlanta to eight points with two games in hand.

The score should have been even more lopsided as the 19-year-old Fleury made 33 saves as Tampa Bay outshot Pittsburgh 39-22.

The Lightning dominated from the start and forced Fleury to make dramatic saves. Still, Tampa Bay fell behind 1-0 on Dick Tarnstrom's power-play goal with 3:27 remaining in the first.

Pittsburgh's power play has been scorching and had converted 10 of its previous 34 opportunities. Lightning coach John Tortorella said the team was keeping it simple and throwing pucks at the net.

That was what Tarnstrom did and the puck got past Grahame.

The Lightning answered 31 seconds into the second when Kubina scored during a five-on-three power play. The defenseman beat Fleury with a slap shot that banked off the inside of the post.

Fifty-four seconds later, Kubina scored again, this time five-on-four, off a perfect pass from Richards, who saw Kubina sneak from the point to the side of the net.

Kubina's 10th goal and third in three games, a tap-in, gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead and tied Roman Hamrlik's franchise record for the quickest two goals by a defenseman. Kubina also broke Hamrlik's franchise record for career goals by a defenseman with his 53rd.

"That was huge," Boyle said of Kubina's goals. "Without those goals it's a different game."

Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar beat Grahame on a wrist shot with 4:17 left in the second to tie it. It was Melichar's first NHL goal.

After Stillman scored and Modin gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead, Holzinger was awarded a penalty shot with eight minutes left because it was ruled Kubina threw his stick defending a breakaway. Holzinger shot high and wide.