Game 72: Atlanta at Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout 4-3.

For the second time this week, a Lightning game went to a shootout. The difference, however, is that they managed to stay in the game in the third period. No third period collapse this time, thankfully.

That line of Malone-Stamkos-St. Louis has really been their best and most consistent line in a long, long time. Stamkos getting those two goals - what's he up to now...18 goals on the season, I guess? Not bad considering the slow start he had this season. He might actually get himself a 20-goal season. And St. Louis is just fantastic, especially with those six shots he had. Sure, he didn't score, but he's making a huge effort and that's inspiring.

What was up with all of the hooking penalties? I mean the calls, not the actual hooking. Some of those seemed pretty questionable to me. And the fact that most of the calls during the game were of a hooking-variety, that seems a little shady.

Ramo, again, had a great game. I really think that the goaltending for the Lightning is pretty solid from Smith on down to McKenna. At least there's one position that Tampa Bay doesn't have to worry about. Assuming they're left alone, of course.

It was a slow start, but they kept it together. And really, that's what matters. I mean, winning would be nice, but trying to iron out the wrinkles now will help in six months when training camp comes back around.

If you hadn't heard, former Lightning player Brad Richards came back from his right wrist injury today with Dallas a week or two early. During the third period of the game with San Jose, though, he broke a bone in his left hand - a spiral facture, apparently, which most likely will require a cast - and is out indefinitely. Dallas hasn't released how or when his hand was broken.

Poor guy. If it isn't one thing, it's another. Hopefully he'll make it back sometime during playoffs. If Dallas makes it in, that is. They're still in the hunt for a spot, if only barely.