TAMPA, Fla. – High-scoring Steven Stamkos is not alone when it comes to Tampa Bay’s offensive attack.
Stamkos scored his fourth goal of the season and five Lightning players had goals in Tampa Bay’s 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
“We’re doing good things,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “We’re not good, yet.”
Tampa Bay, which has won five of six to start the year, also got goals from Cory Conacher, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell and Vincent Lecavalier. Stamkos, who led the NHL with 60 goals last season, has 11 points during a season-opening six-game point streak this year.
Peter Mueller and Tomas Fleischmann scored for the Panthers, who have lost five in a row after a season-opening win over Carolina. Florida has been outscored 23-5 during its skid.
“I think our record is fairly accurate of our play the last four games,” coach Kevin Dineen said. “I hate to say we deserve to be where we are right now. … It’s a matter of us deciding how we’re going to deal with it, and we will.”
Stamkos put the Lightning up 1-0 on a power-play goal at 11:09 of the first. The man advantage came after Panthers defenceman Keaton Ellerby received two minor penalties, a fighting major and 10-minute misconduct following a fight with Tampa Bay right wing B.J. Crombeen, who had tripped Florida defenceman Ed Jovanovski with his leg. Crombeen was given one minor penalty and a fighting major.
“I’ve been around long enough, it’s something that I take pride in is playing honest,” Crombeen said, explaining that the trip was unintentional. “I would, obviously, never do that to someone.”
The Panthers tied it just 15 seconds after Stamkos’ goal when Mueller scored after Lightning goalie Anders Lindback misplayed the puck behind his net.
Tampa Bay went up 2-1 when Conacher, while being held from behind by Florida defenceman Mike Weaver, skated down the slot and beat goalie Jose Theodore with 7:11 left in the first.
Second-period goals by Pyatt and Tyrell extended the Lightning’s lead to 4-1. Tyrell stopped a personal 38-game goal drought.
“I don’t think we’ve really played a good game yet,” Florida defenceman Filip Kuba said. “It’s obviously embarrassing when you lose five straight, but it’s not the right time to put our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got another game coming, and we’ve got 40-something more left. We’ve got to quickly figure out what we’ve got to do to get ready and play better.”
After Lecavalier had a power-play goal 14:13 into the third, Fleischmann scored on a short-handed breakaway 18 seconds later. The Lightning have outscored their opposition 14-2 during the third period this season.
“Obviously, right now we’re not getting any bounces, but we don’t deserve them,” Panthers right wing Tomas Kopecky said. “We are not working hard. We are not competing hard enough, and all the 50-50 pucks, the other team is winning and we’ve got to change it. And it’s got to change right now. It’s too late right now, actually, so everybody here is fed up.”
Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis had an assist. The right wing has nine assists and 12 points overall.
NOTES: Stamkos has a six-game goal streak against the Panthers. … Florida LW Kris Versteeg (groin) played for first time this season. … Conacher, in his rookie season, has at least one point in five of six games this year. … The Panthers recalled C Drew Shore from San Antonio of the AHL.