Tampa Bay Lightning Game 51: versus the Atlanta Thrashers
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 in a shootout.
Yes. You read that right. The Lightning won in a shootout - a shootout that went five rounds, no less. And no, Martin St. Louis did not take part in it. For which, I'm sure, he's very thankful for.
With the win, Antero Niittymaki is now 15-0 lifetime against the Atlanta Thrashers. I am convinced that that's how they won the shootout. If Mike Smith or Dustin Tokarski had been in net, then they probably would've won. But Niittymaki's Southeast Division karma is staying intact thus far with the Lightning.
(Kind of makes me wonder if he was a Union general during the US Civil War in a past life. Sherman sort of comes to mind with the whole Atlanta thing. No? Okay, okay - maybe that's a little out there. Moving on....)
This game was pretty evenly played by both teams. Both teams got into penalty trouble, though the Lightning had ten penalties to the Thrashers' eight. The Lightning were the only team to have converted on any of them. Steven Stamkos scored a power play goal - the only goal scored for the Bolts in regulation time.
The shootout featured Stamkos, Steve Downie, Vincent Lecavalier, Kurtis Foster, and Jeff Halpern. Of those players, only Halpern was able to score on Johan Hedberg. But, to Hedberg's credit, he did play a very good game.
The newly acquired Nate Thompson played on the fourth line with Zenon Konopka and Todd Fedoruk. He played a solid game, and looks like he'll fit in with this team well. He also appears to be a solid centerman, having won 73% (8-3) of the faceoffs that he'd taken during this game.
John felt that this game was a goaltending duel, and to an extent, it was. But it does make me wonder if they were playing a team that was comparable to them. Because if Atlanta's fairly comparable to the Lightning right now, in terms of strengths and ability, then they'll be on the outside looking in to playoffs. The Lightning need to be - and can be - better than that.
The Lightning's next game is against the Montréal Canadiens in Tampa on Wednesday, 27 January. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern.
Thrashers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Bird Watchers Anonymous [SB Nation Atlanta Thrashers site]
Thrashers vs Lightning recap [TSN]