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Surging Flames keep on winning


TAMPA, Fla.—The surging Calgary Flames got balanced scoring and another win.

Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist, and Mike Smith made 33 saves, as the Flames beat the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 last night for their fifth-straight victory.

“A big confidence boost for our group, and keep the winning streak alive,” Smith said.

Micheal Ferland, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski, and Matthew Tkachuk also scored to help the Flames improve to 11-5-4 on the road.

Gaudreau has nine assists and 10 points during a five-game points streak.

“A lot of guys were contributing chances and everybody was responsible defensively,” Tkachuk noted.

Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay.

The Lightning lost all-star defenceman Victor Hedman midway through the second period with a lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper offered no update but said Hedman would undergo tests today.

“We'll see the extent of what's wrong," Cooper said. "No reason to speculate.”

Hedman was hit on the side of his left knee during a collision with Calgary's Garnet Hathaway and needed assistance to the locker-room.

On Tuesday night against Carolina, Hedman could not put any weight on his left skate heading to the bench with three minutes left in the second but returned two minutes later.

Ferland opened the scoring just 29 seconds into the game during a 2-on-1 off a pass from Sean Monahan.

Ferland added an assist and now has a four-game points streak while Monahan has points in five-straight.

After Point scored 31 seconds into the second, the Flames took a 3-1 lead on goals by Gaudreau at 16:48 and Bennett on the power-play 1:55 later.

Tampa Bay's Cedric Paquette failed to score on a penalty shot at 5:15 of the second.

Jankowski and Tkachuk added third-period goals.

“Got two big goals at the end of the second to give us some breathing room,” Smith said.

“Then I thought that was one of better third periods with a lead this year.”

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 19 shots.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Carolina beat Washington 3-1 and Buffalo downed Columbus 3-1.

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