Panthers defeat Lightning, move into second in Central


SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers moved into second place in the Discover Central Division when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Alex Wennberg got a hat trick, and Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Bennett each had a goal and an assist for Florida (36-14-5), which has won five straight games and moved two points ahead of the Lightning in the division. Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for Tampa Bay (36-16-3), which was coming off a 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday.

The Panthers and Lightning will each complete their regular season here Monday. 

Wennberg gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 11:44 of the first period with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.

Bennett made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 3:07 of the second period.

Luke Schenn cut it to 2-1 at 4:52, but Wennberg pushed the lead to 3-1 at 12:54 when his pass from behind the net deflected high in the air off the stick of Vasilevskiy and landed just inside the post after Erik Cernak couldn’t knock it away.

Huberdeau made it 4-1 at 14:53 with a backhand from the slot.

Wennberg completed his second hat trick of the season to extend the lead to 5-1 at 13:38 of the third period, scoring with a long wrist shot that deflected off the stick of defenseman David Savard

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