Lightning 5, Panthers 1

Steven Stamkos and Mathieu Garon played pivotal roles as the

Tampa Bay Lightning swept back-to-back games against the Florida


Stamkos had two goals and an assist, Garon made 24 saves and

Tampa Bay beat the Panthers 5-1 on Saturday night.

Martin St. Louis, Tom Pyatt and Ryan Malone also scored for the

Lightning, who were coming off a 2-1 overtime victory at Florida on

Friday night.

”We slowed them down a little bit,” St. Louis said.

Garon stopped four shots by former Lightning left wing Sean

Bergenheim during the opening period. The goalie turned aside 23

shots in Friday’s victory over the Panthers.

Tampa Bay took control during the second when goals by Pyatt,

Stamkos and Malone made it 4-0. Stamkos got his second of the game

and 14th of the season in the final minute of play.

Stamkos scored Friday’s winner in overtime.

The Southeast Division-leading Panthers, who went 0 for 6 on the

power play, got a late third-period goal from Shawn Matthias.

Florida had won three in a row before the consecutive losses to

Tampa Bay.

”We got outplayed and the score shows how the game played

out,” Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. ”Goaltending wasn’t an

issue, it was overall defensive play and a real lack of will. We

need to get back to the way we’ve been successful, and we didn’t do

that for the last four or five periods.”

Matthias ruined Garon’s bid for his second shutout this season

and 21st overall on his goal with 2:17 to go in the game.

”I don’t really care about the shutout,” Garon said. ”As long

as we win, that’s most important.”

Pyatt gave Tampa Bay a two-goal lead at 3:49 of the second when

he made a nifty move at the blue line to get by Florida defenseman

Erik Gudbranson and then beat goalie Jacob Markstrom on a

back-hander. The goal stopped Pyatt’s personal 21-game goal

drought, dating to March 20 against Minnesota.

”Bottom line, we weren’t good enough,” Panthers center Stephen

Weiss said.

After Stamkos scored at 6:02, the Lightning took a 4-0 lead on

Malone’s rebound goal with 9:25 left in the period.

”We’re just utilizing our speed, and we have confidence right

now,” Stamkos said. ”When you get confidence, good things


Stamkos has 12 goals and 10 assists in 22 games against


St. Louis put the Lightning up 1-0 from in close 2:07 into the

first. It was his 300th goal with Tampa Bay. St. Louis has 304

goals overall, including four with Calgary from 1998-2000.

”I’m proud of it,” St. Louis said. ”I’m proud to say that

I’ve been on the same team for 11 years. If you told me 11 years

ago I’d score 300 goals, I would have paid money for that.”

St. Louis added with a smile that he would have taken simply

playing 300 shifts when he first joined the Lightning.

”Quite an impressive individual,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher


Notes: Florida RW Tomas Kopecky, who missed Friday night’s game

because of back spasms, was back in the lineup. … Tampa Bay RW

Steve Downie sat out his second straight game due to an undisclosed

upper body injury. … Toronto director of player personnel Rick

Dudley, who was the Lightning GM when St. Louis was signed as free

agent by Tampa Bay July 31, 2000, was at the game.