Closing Out Road Trip, Bolts Look To Clip Thrashers
ATLANTA – Riding a six-game road winning streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning are set to close out a three-game trip with a match-up against the Southeast Division rival Atlanta Thrashers. Meeting for the third of four games at Atlanta this season, the teams will square off on Saturday, February 9 (7:00p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) at Philips Arena.
Tampa Bay skates into their sixth overall game against Atlanta on the heels of a 2-1 overtime win against the Nashville Predators. Brad Richards led the Lightning in the contest, scoring one goal and adding an assist on Vaclav Prospal’s overtime winner.
Although Alexander Radulov opened the scoring for Nashville at 12:37 of the first period, Richards scored his 17th goal of the season to tie the game at one.
Connecting at 13:09 of the middle frame, Richards scored on a rebound to the right of goaltender Dan Ellis
. After Martin St. Louis
tipped Vincent Lecavalier
shot in front of the net, Richards slid the loose rebound under Ellis’ right leg for the score.
After the teams skated through a scoreless third period, Prospal needed only 58 seconds to give the Lightning the overtime win. Charging the goalmouth early in the extra period, Prospal connected on a rebound from a Richards slap shot from the point.
Posting his 23rd goal of the season, Prospal needs to score two more times to match his career-high of 25 goals.
The Lightning out-shot the Thrashers 25-19, while both teams were held scoreless on the power play.
Making 18 saves, Holmqvist notched his fifth consecutive road victory. Holmqvist has allowed eight goals during his personal winning streak, while Tampa Bay has out-scored their opponents 22-11 during the road winning stretch.
Dropping their second consecutive decision, Atlanta enters Saturday’s game coming off a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Midway through the second period Pascal Dupuis broke a scoreless tie for the Thrashers, but the Canucks scored a pair of goals in the third to claim the win. After Daniel Sedin tied the game at one with a power play goal at 6:32 of the final period, Alex Burrows added the game-winning goal at 11:14.
Both teams posted 28 shots in the contest, but Robert Luongo’s extra save stood as the difference-maker. Closing out the first half of a four-game home stand Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots for the Thrashers.
The last time the Thrashers faced the Lightning, Lehtonen made 32 saves to lead his club to a 6-2 victory. Ilya Kovalchuk scored one goal and added one assist and Vyacheslav Kozlov posted the game-winner in the contest.
Jason Ward scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period, while Prospal added the second Tampa Bay goal during a third-period power play.
The Lightning out-shot the Thrashers, 34-24, and connected on one of four man-advantage opportunities in the game.
Kovalchuk, the league’s second-leading goal scorer (39 goals), has connected six times and added three assists through five games against Tampa Bay this season.
Despite being held off the scoresheet in their last game versus Atlanta, Lecavalier and St. Louis are tied with Prospal for the team-lead in points during the season series. Each player has recorded nine points, with Lecavalier posting three goals and six assists, and St. Louis dishing out seven helpers.
Prospal leads all Tampa Bay skaters with five goals against Atlanta. During a seven-game points streak against the Thrashers, Prospal has points 11 points (six goals, five assists).
Saturday’s game marks the first meeting between the clubs since December 18. Through the first five games of the season, Tampa Bay has skated to a 2-2-1 record against their division rival. Through franchise history Lightning have posted a 23-27-4 record, plus four ties, against the Thrashers.