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Stamkos scores 300th goal, Lightning top Penguins 4-2

PITTSBURGH — Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos became the third player in franchise history to reach 300 goals, and the Lightning ended a long losing streak in Pittsburgh with a 4-2 win over the Penguins on Saturday.

Stamkos knocked in a rebound off Alex Killorn's shot midway through the first period to join Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis as the only Lightning players with 300 goals.

Anton Stralman, Matthew Carle and Tyler Johnson also scored for Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop finished with 37 saves.

Tom Kuhnhackl picked up the first NHL goal of his career for Pittsburgh. Scott Wilson added his second in as many games but the Penguins fell to the Lightning at home in the regular season for the first time since Nov. 12, 2010.

Jeff Zatkoff stopped 16 of 20 shots while making an impromptu start when Marc-Andre Fleury became ill during pregame.

The Lightning moved two points ahead of Pittsburgh in the jumbled Eastern Conference race thanks in part to Stamkos, who will stick around through the end of the season after general manager Steve Yzerman reiterated the team would not try and move its captain by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

A Stanley Cup finalist a last spring, the Lightning have slogged through an uneven regular season and came in just 5-4-1 in their last 10 games while watching the once reeling Penguins catch them in the wild-card standings.

Tampa Bay steadied itself in a place where it had lost nine straight regular season games, most of them blowouts. Pittsburgh outscored the Lighting 48-19 during its five-plus year run of home dominance over Tampa Bay, a run that came to an emphatic end as the Lightning took advantage of sloppy play by the Penguins and their backup goaltender.

Fleury was scheduled to start but complained of not feeling well Saturday morning, giving Zatkoff just his third start since Jan. 1. He struggled early. Tampa Bay scored twice in the first 11:20. Pittsburgh's Kevin Porter rang a shot off the crossbar and 13 seconds later Stralman's floater from the point found its way through a sea of bodies for his ninth of the season and fourth against Pittsburgh.

Stamkos doubled the lead just over two minutes later in one of the easier goals of his All-Star career. Killorn's shot from outside the left circle clanged off the left post and scooted across the crease to Stamkos, who had little trouble flipping it into the open net.

Kuhnhackl gave Pittsburgh some momentum when his short-handed breakaway ended with a backhand by Bishop for the 24-year-old's first goal in his 17th NHL game. Tampa Bay pumped two more by Zatkoff, who didn't see Carle's slap shot from near the blue line and who had no chance when Johnson tapped in a centring feed from Ondrej Palat. Wilson put in a rebound to get the Penguins within two with just under four minutes left in the second but Pittsburgh squandered a 5-on-3 at the end of the period and generated little over the final 20 minutes to lose in regulation for only the second time in its last 13 games at Consol Energy Center.

NOTES: Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin missed his seventh straight game with a lower body injury. ... Tampa Bay went 0 for 5 on the power play. The Penguins have killed 19 straight penalties. ... Penguins star Sidney Crosby was held scoreless while drawing two penalties. ... Both teams play Sunday. Pittsburgh visits Buffalo while the Lightning travel to Carolina.

Will Graves, The Associated Press

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