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Stamkos lifts Lightning in rout of Panthers

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Steven Stamkos had three goals and an assist, Valtteri Filppula added two goals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 7-2 on Thursday night.

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Martin St. Louis added a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won three in a row after a season-opening loss at Boston. Goalie Ben Bishop improved to 3-0 on the season.

Florida, which lost three of four during a season-opening road trip, got goals from Brad Boyes and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Stamkos, second in the NHL with 29 goals during the abbreviated 2012-13 season, stopped a five-game goal drought dating back to last season.

The center completed his sixth career hat trick on a one-timer from the top of the left circle during a power play at 12:25 of the third.

Filppula scored consecutive third-period goals to give the Lightning a 6-2 lead.

St. Louis, playing at home for the first time since being selected team captain earlier this month, made it 1-0 off a pass through the slot by Stamkos 8:13 into the game.

St. Louis has 917 points, which moved him past Bobby Orr (915) into 94th place on the NHL all-time list.

St. Louis' goal marked the first time this season that Tampa Bay took a lead during regulation. The Lightning's other two victories came in overtime and a shootout after third-period comebacks.

Stamkos put the Lightning up 2-0 when he beat goalie Jacob Markstrom for a short-handed goal at 13:54 of the first. It was Tampa Bay's first short-handed goal since Ryan Malone scored one on March 26, 2012.

Boyes got the Panthers within 2-1 on a power-play goal 59 seconds into the second. Florida had failed to convert on its previous 17 man-advantage opportunities this season.

Tampa Bay went up 3-1 when Stamkos scored from the right circle with 8:21 left in the second. Ondrej Palat added a late second-period goal.

Huberdeau, last season's Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, scored his first goal in nine games early in the third.

NOTES: Florida G Tim Thomas (groin) said he felt ``better'' after skating and taking some shots Thursday. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said it's very doubtful that Thomas, who was hurt Tuesday at Philadelphia, will be ready for Friday's home opener. ... Panthers C Shawn Matthias played after missing the morning skate due to flulike symptoms.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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