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Lightning rout Thrashers to extend division lead

TAMPA BAY (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning used a second-period outburst to punish Atlanta in a 7-1 victory on Sunday, continuing their supremacy over the Thrashers.

Tampa Bay blitzed Atlanta with five unanswered goals in the second en route to a sixth straight victory over the Thrashers this season and 11th straight overall.

"Sometimes that's the way it is," Simon Gagne told reporters about Tampa Bay's domination of Atlanta. "For us this year, we've had their number. These are not easy games to win, but tonight I think we took advantage of their schedule."

Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 38th goal of the season and took over sole possession of the league scoring lead, while Nate Thompson, Dana Tyrell, Martin St. Louis and Gagne also added goals for Tampa Bay in the second.

Gagne tacked on his second goal of the game in the third where Pavel Kubina also scored for the Lightning (30-15-5), who have won four straight and lead the Southeast Division by three points over the Washington Capitals.

Goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 21 saves but his shutout bid was spoiled when Rich Peverley scored Atlanta's only goal with about four minutes left in the game.

The Thrashers (23-19-9) have lost seven of their last eight games and have not beaten Tampa Bay since 2009.

Led by All-Star Stamkos, the Lightning continue to roll.

Stamkos has scored seven goals in his last six games while claiming sole possession of the NHL points lead from Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who has missed eight consecutive games due to a concussion.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)