By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

Tampa, Fla. (CBS) With the game-winning goal last night and two important goals in tonight’s 5-1 win against the Florida Panthers, Steven Stamkos is a force to be reckoned with.

He is second in the NHL in goals scored after netting his 13th and 14th tonight, and his presence has been felt during the Lightning’s recent surge toward the top of the Southeast division.

Along with the help of Stamkos, Mathieu Garon had another big night to close out the home-and-home series, stopping 24 shots and allowing only two goals in two straight games against the Panthers.

Martin St. Louis, Tom Pyatt and Ryan Malone also scored for the bolts, proving that Tampa Bay has an arsenal of goal scorers at their disposal.

The division-leading Panthers won three consecutive games before the two game skid against their in-state rival. Shawn Matthias scored the only goal for Florida 17:43 into the third period.

Special teams play for the bolts was the difference in both of these games. The Panthers went 0 for 6 on the power play tonight, and the previous night wasn’t any better for the cats.

St. Louis’ opening goal was the eighth time the bolts scored first in 22 games, and it clearly had an effect on the level of play seen in the second period. Tampa Bay netted three goals in the second and virtually did everything right to capitalize on Florida’s mistakes to put the game out of reach.

Guy Boucher and the boys are turning things around after a slow start to the season, and they will be back in action Monday night in Minnesota.







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