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Lightning rout Ducks to continue dominance of West

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- An outbreak of the flu may have caused problems for the Anaheim Ducks, but the illness was nothing compared to the difficulties the Tampa Bay Lightning delivered on their way to a 5-1 win Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis and Valtteri Filppula each had three points, and Ben Bishop made 24 saves for his NHL-leading 13th win. Filppula finished with two goals and an assist, his second two-goal game of the season, and St. Louis had a goal and two assists.

The win put Tampa Bay's record against the Western Conference at 7-0-0. The Lightning (14-5-0) open a western road trip Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes and play their next four games against teams from the other conference.

"I have no idea," St. Louis said when asked about that Tampa Bay success. "We put on equipment and go out there. I don't know, I don't know why."

Tampa Bay's final goal Thursday came early in the third period when Victor Hedman stepped into the play and powered a pass by Richard Panik into the corner of the Anaheim net, just below the crossbar.

"I think we put on a great performance tonight," Hedman said. "I think we played well from the get-go. We set the tone right away. We did a great job on screens and rebounds and scored from every spot on the ice."

The Lightning built their lead to 4-0 with two second-period goals before Anaheim got on the scoreboard. Filppula scored his second goal of the game on a power play 3:16 into the second.

"He's a pretty confident kid right now," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He's making plays everywhere on the ice that only a select few players can make. When teams are expecting one thing, he has the ability to do something else, and that has really helped his game. It probably didn't hurt that the general manager and coach of the Finnish Olympic team was in the stands tonight. That probably was some added incentive for him."

Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn charged the Anaheim net and lifted a rebound over Jonas Hiller at 10:51 for the four-goal lead. St. Louis had an assist on each of the second-period goals.

Anaheim's Emerson Etem found some open ice in front of the Tampa Bay net and scored his fifth goal of the season at 16:07.

"I think when you are fragile, and even with our record (15-5-1) I thought we were pretty fragile, so when we got behind, our shoulders dipped and we didn't have enough pushback," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's not us and we haven't done that in 20 games. We played pretty bad here."

Cooper said his team, which won its second game in a row without injured star Steven Stamkos, didn't see the best of the Ducks. Anaheim forward Corey Perry played as a game-time decision with the flu, one of several players to have it recently.

"I don't think I'm speaking out of line in saying that Anaheim didn't play their best game tonight," Cooper said. "Their best player (Ryan Getzlaf) wasn't in the lineup (due to injury). You have to give our guys credit because we jumped on them in the first five minutes. Maybe we smelled that they weren't at their best and we built a lead and protected it. In saying that, that is a very good team. You can tell. We played hard and deserved what we got tonight, but I don't think that was indicative of the Ducks."

The Lightning opened the scoring at 11:52 of the first period with a quick wrist shot from Filppula that was the result of some crisp passing by Teddy Purcell and Matthew Carle.

Tampa Bay opened a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal by St. Louis at 16:25. He tapped a rebound into the Anaheim net after Hiller stopped Filppula's shot. It broke a seven-game power-play drought for the Lightning, during which they went 0-for-19.

"There is no easy goal in this League but that one was pretty easy," St. Louis said. "But being in the right place at the right time, that's it. It was actually a double-tip and it got knocked through the goalie's leg and I was right there. It felt good to score it."

The Lightning power play finished the game 2-for-2.

"If we don't score on those power plays, it might be a different game," St. Louis said. "We earned it. But they will be a lot tougher in their building next week."

The Ducks did not get their first shot on goal until more than 13 minutes of the first period elapsed. With Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson in the penalty box for tripping, Anaheim was able to put six shots on net. From that point forward, the Ducks outshot Tampa Bay 25-14.

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