The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to make it two wins in a row as they face-off against the Atlanta Thrashers tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning, coming off a 1-0 shutout behind rookie Mike McKenna vs. the New York Islanders on Saturday night, are looking toward this second game of a six-game homestand to build momentum for a playoff push. Tampa Bay, 18-24-11, trail the Florida Panthers for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by 11 points.
Tonight’s contest will be the fourth between these two clubs this season. The Lightning hold the edge, 2-1-0, over Atlanta.
Rookie goaltender Mike McKenna is set to make his third start for the Bolts tonight. Except for the third period of his first game against Pittsburgh, when the Penguins exploded for three scores, McKenna has pitched more than six periods of shutout hockey.
The Lightning are led in points scored by Martin St. Louis with 50. St. Louis has four goals and two assists against the Thrashers this season. The team lead in goals scored remains with Vincent Lecavalier. His 24 goals scored have the captain tied for ninth place among all NHL players in that category.
The Atlanta Thrashers (18-31-5) arrive in Tampa having dropped six of their last seven games.
Forward Ilya Kovalchuk leads the Thrashers in both points scored with 52 and goals scored with 22. He is followed by forward Bryan Little with 21 scores.
Following tonight’s contest, the Toronto Maple Leafs call on the Lightning on Thursday, followed by Washington on Saturday and the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils, Tuesday and Thursday of next week.