Tampa Bay Lightning Game 38: versus the Atlanta Thrashers

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrasher at home 4-3.

Mike Lundin scored his first ever NHL goal. He was a last minute call-up for this game due to Jeff Halpern, Todd Fedoruk, and Matt Walker going on the injured reserve. In fact, he was back home in Minnesota for Christmas when he got the call.

Riku Helenius was also called up due to Antero Niittymaki and his wife were expecting a baby.

Vincent Lecavalier assisted on the first three Lightning goals. In the first, he had four shots but his faceoffs weren't that great - he'd only won 33%. By the third, he'd backed off on shots, picking up only one more in the second and none in the third, but picked up his faceoffs, and ended up winning 63% on the night.

Regardless of those statistics, Vinny ran the ice. He was setting up plays, making outstanding passes. He dominated in this game.

I felt that this was one of Martin St. Louis' better games in a while. For the past couple of weeks, Marty's looked a little lost to me. In this game, though, he looked like his old self again. He even took a few faceoffs, winning 4 and losing only one (80%).

Mike Smith had a good game, but the second period was very good. Atlanta had 15 shots in the second period. The only reason the Thrashers had scored one that period was because of a fluke bounce that led to the goal. And you certainly can't fault Smith for that.

Looks like the two-day Christmas break did the team some good.

It wasn't the prettiest game - particularly since the Lightning gave up the first goal. But even with letting a very good Atlanta game back into it a couple of times, they found a way to win. And frankly, winning ugly is still winning. Not that this game was that ugly, to be honest, but it wasn't smooth by any means, either.

Winning against any division team, any kind of win is a good win. Even without Niittymaki and his insane record agains the Southeast Division teams, they managed to do that. So I'd call that a good win.

The next Lightning game is at home against the Boston Bruins on Monday, 28 December. Game time is 7:30 Eastern. Go watch the Bruins play in Tampa before they hit the ice at Fenway Park on New Year's Day.

Thrashers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Bird Watchers Anonymous [SB Nation Atlanta Thrashers site]

Thrashers vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Thrashers vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]