Game 36: Tampa Bay Lightning at Atlanta Thrashers

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in overtime.

Looks like overtime is becoming a habit with these guys again. Which, in my opinion, isn't a good thing. But, instead of like last season, they seem to be winning those one-goal games right now.

The undisputed hero of the game was team captain Vincent Lecavalier. Not only did he score the game winner in overtime, but he also scored what ended up being the game-tying goal. So the question that comes to my mind is, if Vinny goes on a hot streak, does that give him a chance to be appointed to the NHL All-Star Game? He's got three goals in his last two games, and five points in the six games he's been back from injury.

Martin St. Louis, who had been questionable coming into this game, played almost every single shift he normally would have had he been healthy. He was playing sick - reportedly, he had the flu - and wasn't even able to finish warm-ups with the team. He ended up playing 16:21 of the game and was on the ice for 22 shifts, which was only slightly less than his most regular linemate, Steven Stamkos, who played 17:01 and had 24 shifts. Marty also got smacked in the face with a high stick, which caused him to bleed, but I'm not sure if he required stitches.

St. Louis did keep his iron man streak alive, however, and has now played a total of 426 games in a row. Thankfully, they won the game, and his effort was rewarded by receiving two assists. And, hopefully, he's feeling much better soon.

Dan Ellis played well again, and I think that defensively, the team had a better night. There weren't a lot of penalties and/or power plays, which is hopefully a new trend with this team. It seems as if they had been taking a lot of penalties recently. Tampa Bay scored the only power play goal of the game, which came in overtime.

Faceoffs weren't a spectacular part of the game for the Lightning. Of their regular faceoff guys, Nate Thompson was 2 of 8 (25%), Stamkos was 3 of 10 (30%), and Lecavalier was 7 of 22 (32%). Dominic Moore, though, had an outstanding night in the facoff circle, winning 8 of 13 (62%). Of the non-centers who took faceoffs, Ryan Malone did very well (4 of 6; 67%), as did Simon Gagne (2 of 2; 100%) and Adam Hall (4 of 8; 50%). Overall team percentage was around 42%, though.

Another random statistic, the Lightning had a total of 19 blocked shots, but Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund each had four.

With this win, Tampa Bay stays on top of the Southeast Division. The Washington Capitals beat the Carolina Hurricanes last night, so both the Lightning and the Caps are still tied for points. However, since the Lightning have played two fewer games than the Caps have, they have a higher winning percentage and are place ahead of them in the standings.

Southeast Standings

Tampa Bay 36 21 10 5 47
Washington 38 21 12 5 47
Atlanta 38 19 13 6 44
Carolina 34 15 15 4 34
Florida 33 16 17 0 32

(updated 12.27.2010 at 9:38 AM EST)

The next game for the Lightning is 29 December at home against the Boston Bruins. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will be open at 7 pm. See you then!