Game 50: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Atlanta Thrashers
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers 7-1 in a game full of rewards for Lightning hockey.
Tonight's win concludes this season's games between the Lightning and Thrashers, giving the Lightning six wins out of six games played. Of the games played this season, it was certainly the climax of the matches between the two teams, as the Lightning put up a dominant, consistent effort against Atlanta for the win.
And bigger than the season, tonight marks eleven wins straight against the Atlanta Thrashers; the Lightning last fell to the Thrashers in 2009-10's season opener in Atlanta.
Overhaul, dominate, slaughter--pick your term. The Bolt's performance against the Thrashers was excellent, with 17 points distributed over 11 players. The win was driven by a team ethic, which is nothing new per se, but was this time illustrated on the scoreboard.
Eleven straight wins against Atlanta, and the season total of six--pretty impressive numbers. Nate Thompson, who opened the scoring 14 seconds into the second period, said:
"They're a good hockey club. To beat them six times in a season is a good thing. Anytime you can beat the team in your division six times, it's a big thing, but at the same time, you can't really let up, you have to keep going. It's not going to get easier."
No surprise that the Bolts take the Southeast division win with a grain of salt, keeping the matter in perspective with the challenges ahead.
Follow the jump for the full recap & video...
Boucher applauded the team for sticking to the plan--the five man picture--saying that the key was keeping it up until they figured out the holes in Atlanta's game, finding a way to score.
They certainly figured it out.
The first period proposed a game driven by tight goaltending, with Dwayne Roloson and Ondrej Pavelec stopping 13 and 14 shots, respectively, by the end of the period.
But that notion was wiped away at the beginning of the second, with Thompson's shorthanded goal 14 seconds in, unassisted. Besides opening the scoring, this was the first shorthanded goal for the Lightning this season. We've been harping over Nate Thompson all season, and as Boucher said afterwards, "it's only fitting" that Thompson earned the shorthanded goal.
Dana Tyrell followed up Thompson's goal with a second goal, taking a pass from Dominic Moore, and skating up the left wing for a second goal, a minute and a half later, from the left circle.
Following, Martin St. Louis took a shot from the blue line, which resulted in three for the Lighting, bouncing off of Steven Stamkos' skate at 5:39.
Three goals in six minutes was a pretty good start, but the effort continued. Atlanta switched gears in goal, pulling Pavelec and bringing in Peter Mannino, but the goalie switch didn't prove to be an adequate effort against Lightning hockey, as Thompson termed it afterwards.
At ten minutes, St. Louis broke away down the left win, where he was met by Dustin Byfuglien, who took control of the puck. But after a bit of trouble behind the net, Steve Downie regained possession and passed it to St. Louis, who drove it into the net for the fourth goal against Atlanta.
With two minutes to go in the second, the Bolts were still looking for the net. Vincent Lecavalier took the shot against Mannino from the left side of the goal, which was found by Simon Gagne, deflecting it in for the 5-0 lead at the end of the second.
The Bolts continued solid play through the third period, first from Pavel Kubina, taking a slap shot from the right circle for 6-0, then from Gagne, who found the net again on the Lightning power play, assisted by Vinny and Teddy Purcell.
Rich Peverley scored the lone goal for Atlanta at 15:56 in the third, resulting in the final 7-1.
The Lightning (30-15-5) will continue the homestand on Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, so stop by the game thread and say hello.
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