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Rookie Paquette powers Lightning past Flames

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Rookie center Cedric Paquette scored his first two NHL goals to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Lightning (9-3-1), who were unbeaten on their four-game homestand.

"They were the type of goals that we expect from him," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Paquette, 21, who was called up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. "He knows how to win the battles down low, and not a lot of guys can get those kinds of goals."

Paquette's second goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 1:01 of the second period. He redirected a slap shot from Vladislav Namestnikov past Flames goalie Jonas Hiller.

"I thought we moved the puck well in the offensive zone," Paquette said. "Me, Vlad [Namestnikov] and [Jonathan] Drouin just tried to get to the net."

Boyle pushed the Lightning lead to 3-1 on a shorthanded goal at 4:02 of the second when he intercepted a pass off the stick of Flames defenseman Kris Russell for a breakaway opportunity. Boyle's first shot was stopped by Hiller, but he sent the rebound underneath the goalie's pads for his fourth goal.

"They take advantage of turnovers and they got too many odd-man rushes during the game," Flames defenseman Mark Giordano said. "I think we were forcing things out there, especially when they got ahead."

The Flames got back to within a goal 20 seconds after Boyle scored when Sean Monahan scored on the power play for his fifth goal. Giordano's slap shot was stopped by Ben Bishop, but the Lightning goaltender failed to control the loose puck and moved away from the net to cover it. Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau beat Bishop to the puck and passed it to Monahan, who scored with the clean look.

"They play a similar tempo to the one that we play," Gaudreau said. "And coach [Bob] Hartley said before the game that we got to make sure we are better than them tonight. If we limit our turnovers a little bit better and bear down on a few more chances, I think we have the [win]."

Johnson scored 40 seconds into the third period to give Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead. He one-timed forward Nikita Kucherov's pass from behind the net into the top-right corner above Hiller's stick.

Filppula scored an empty-net goal at 17:50.

"They are a tough team to get opportunities against," Johnson said. "They have a lot of skill; they play a very structured game. I thought we played extremely well though; we had a lot of times where we had odd-man rushes and we were able to get good opportunities from that. Those are the things you need against a team like Calgary."

Paquette scored his first NHL goal at 9:55 of the first period when he shook off a check from Flames forward Brandon Bollig, skated into an open area in front of the net and sent a wrist shot past Hiller.

"I saw that I had space so I just tried to jam to the net, and it worked," Paquette said. "I think I will remember it for the rest of my life; it's a great moment for me."

Drouin had the assist on Paquette's goal, and Bishop made 29 saves for the Lightning, who will face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Jiri Hudler scored a first-period goal for the Flames; T.J. Brodie and Giordano had the assists. Hiller made 28 saves on 32 shots.

"It wasn't our best game. We obviously didn't like the chances we gave up," Giordano said. "But we'll move forward. They played a good game, and we didn't play our best, so that was the result."

Calgary will visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday for the fourth of its five-game trip.

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