Lightning Face Thrashers Tonight
Homestand Continues Against Division Foe
The Atlanta Thrashers make their final visit of the season to the St. Pete Times Forum to battle the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
This will be the fifth of six meetings between the Lightning and the Thrashers this season. Tampa Bay has a 2-2-0 record against Atlanta, including a 1-1-0 mark at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Both the Lightning (23-33-15) and the Thrashers (29-36-6) will miss post-season play but both clubs have plenty to play for as talent evaluations for future jobs continues.
“Right now, you want to know who can compete and who’s going to be there at crucial times,” Lightning interim head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I’m looking for guys who are going to compete and really care, and that’s what we’re evaluating right now. There will be a lot of spots open this summer.”
Few players in the NHL are as competitive game in and game out as Lightning forward Martin St. Louis
. In addition to leading Tampa Bay in total points with 72. St. Louis has compiled a seven game consecutive point streak that equals the team’s best of the season.
Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos
has begun to demonstrate his scoring aplomb of late, compiling points in four consecutive games. Both Stamkos and St. Louis scored in the Lightning loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
The Atlanta Thrashers have played some of their best hockey of the season so far in the month of March, putting together a 6-3-0 record; those six consecutive wins stands as their longest winning streak of the season. They arrive in Tampa after losing to the Detroit Red Wings, 6-3, on Friday night.
Dangerous sniper Ilya Kovalchuk leads the Thrashers in both goals and points, with 36 and 78, respectively.
Netminder Kari Lehtonen has drawn most of the work in the nets for Atlanta and has played well of late, compiling five straight wins from March 6th through March 16th while posting a 1.18 goals against average during that span.
Following tonight’s game, the Columbus Blue Jackets make a rare appearance at the Forum on Tuesday night, after which the Lightning head out on the road for two games before returning home to face the Ottawa Senators on March 29th.