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Lightning 5, Panthers 2

The SportsXchange

TAMPA -- Two trends continued Tuesday as the Tampa Bay Lightning remained very successful, and the Florida Panthers anything but early in the NHL season.

The Lightning rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers, winning for the fifth time in six games -- including all four at home -- and continued to lead the Southeast Division. The Panthers lost their fifth straight -- including all three on the road -- and remained at a league-low two points.

The Lightning was buzzing from the outset, back-checking well and pouring into the Panther zone. Florida was routinely a step late on offense and defense.

Tampa Bay, which has outscored opponents 10-3, in the first period this season, scored twice to lead 2-1 after in the first 20 minutes. Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning a 1-0 with 8:51 left when he followed his own rebound for a power play goal over Jose Theodore's shoulder from the right side. It was his fourth of the season.

Florida answered 15 seconds later, however, as Peter Mueller scored unassisted. But rookie Cory Conacher's third goal of the season put the Lightning back ahead 80 seconds later as he flipped the puck past Theodore as he was being hauled down from behind by Mike Weaver in transition.

Tom Pyatt gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead less than four minutes into the second period as a pass from teammate Dana Tyrell glanced off his skate and into the goal as he jostled for position with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Pyatt returned the favor with 4:21 left in the period when he fed Tyrell from behind the net and the center punched his first goal of the season in from his knees. Tampa Bay led, 4-1, after two periods.

Vincent Lecavalier added a power play goal with 5:47 left, but Tomas Fleischmann managed a short-hander on a breakaway with 5:25 left.

NOTES: Stamkos has at least a point in each of the first six games. ... The Lightning has scored a power play goal in five of six games. ... Lightning G Anders Lindback allowed a goal on the Flyers' first shot Sunday, but was sharp early on Tuesday, sprawling to stop Scottie Upshall's shot on a breakaway after the left winger intercepted an errant cross-ice pass at his blue line from Martin St. Louis five minutes into the game. ... Rookie Conacher has at least one point in five of his first six games for the Lightning. ... Florida entered the game with the fewest goals in the league (eight) and tied for second in goals-allowed (19). The Lightning entered tied for the league lead with 24 goals. ... Florida entered play with a league-low 24 points in five games. ... Mueller's goal tied him for the team lead with defenseman Brian Campbell (two).

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