|TBL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|ATL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||6|
ATLANTA – An early first period deficit proved too much for the Tampa Bay Lightning to overcome on Tuesday night as the team fell to the Atlanta Thrashers. Playing in the second of four games at Atlanta this season, the Lightning dropped a 6-2 decision against their Southeast Division rival.
Vaclav Prospal and Jason Ward scored for Tampa Bay, but Vyacheslav Kozlov’s late first-period goal stood as the eventual game-winner.
Early in the opening frame goaltender Johan Holmqvist denied a pair of Thrashers shots. After stopping Marian Hossa with a pad save on a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, Holmqvist turned to hold off Kozlov on the rebound. The Thrashers winger jumped on the puck at the opposite circle, but Holmqvist stuck out his right leg for the save.
Despite the saves, Atlanta opened the scoring 5:56 into the game when Garnet Exelby posted his second goal of the season. When a Steve McCarthy shot sailed wide of the net and rolled around the board, Bobby Holik pass the puck across to Exelby. The Thrashers defenseman fired a low shot from the blue line for the score.
With a little more than five minutes left in the period the Lightning looked to tie the game at one. Controlling the puck behind the net Vincent Lecavalier passed forward to Paul Ranger as he jumped up into the play. Snapping a shot in front, Ranger saw the puck turned away by the left pad of Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen.
Responding to the attempt, Atlanta turned the play up the ice where Mark Recchi slipped the puck past Holmqvist for his fifth goal of the season. The Thrashers went on to close out the period with their third goal of the contest. Kozlov extended the Atlanta lead after banging at a puck in front of the net.
With Marc Denis starting the second period in favor of Holmqvist, Mathieu Darche opened the frame by putting a pair of quick shots on Lehtonen. Following up his own shot from the top of the slot Darche snapped a shot off the rebound at the right of Lehtonen, but the Thrashers netminder covered the puck on the play.
Less than six minutes into the second period Chris Thorburn found the back of the net on a shot to the right of Denis.
Minutes after Lehtonen smothered a wrist shot by Nick Tarnasky from the top of the zone, Ward connected to snap the shutout bid.
With Prospal serving a minor penalty for hooking, Ward stripped Ilya Kovalchuk of the puck in the Thrashers’ offensive zone. As he skated down the right wing Ward cut to the front of the net and put a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net from a few feet outside of the crease. The goal was Ward’s fourth of the season and first shorthanded marker.
Tampa Bay answered the Kovalchuk goal when Prospal scored a little more than three minutes later. With Kozlov serving a delay of game penalty, Prospal tipped a shot by Ranger from the left point. As the puck turned down in front of the crease Prospal notched his 15th goal of the season on a deflection to the five-hole.
With his goal in the contest, Prospal extended his scoring streak against the Thrashers to seven games. Dating back to the 2006-07 season, Prospal has recorded 11 points (six goals, five assists) against Atlanta.
Holding back a Lightning comeback attempt the Thrashers posted a late shorthanded goal to close out the scoring. Converting a sweeping pass across the crease by Eric Perrin, Dupuis tapped the puck to the right of Denis for his fifth goal of the season.
Denis and Holmqvist made a combined 18 saves as the Lightning out-shot the Thrashers 34-24 in the contest. Lehtonen earned his third win of the season by stopping 32 shots.
Tampa Bay converted one of four man-advantage opportunities while holding Atlanta off the board on their lone power play attempt.
Lecavalier and St. Louis, tied for the team-lead in scoring with nine points against the Thrashers this season, were both held off the scoresheet in the contest.
The Lightning return to Tampa Bay on Thursday, December 20 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) to kick off a two-game home stand at the St. Pete Times Forum. Facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs the Lightning will look to improve on their 11-5-2 home record before taking on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, December 22 (7:30p.m.).
|Garnet Exelby (2) ASST: Bobby Holik (8), Steve McCarthy (2)|
1 - 0 ATL
|Mark Recchi (5) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (18), Kari Lehtonen (1)|
2 - 0 ATL
|Vyacheslav Kozlov (9) ASST: Marian Hossa (19), Eric Perrin (12)|
3 - 0 ATL
|Chris Thorburn (2) ASST: Steve McCarthy (3), Eric Boulton (2)|
4 - 0 ATL
|SHG - Jason Ward (4) ASST: NONE|
4 - 1 ATL
|Ilya Kovalchuk (27) ASST: NONE|
5 - 1 ATL
|PPG - Vinny Prospal (15) ASST: Paul Ranger (14), Brad Richards (21)|
5 - 2 ATL
|SHG - Pascal Dupuis (5) ASST: Eric Perrin (13)|
6 - 2 ATL
|Ken Klee Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Mark Recchi Hooking against Paul Ranger|
|Vinny Prospal Hooking against Pascal Dupuis|
|Vyacheslav Kozlov Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Andre Roy Misconduct|
|Garnet Exelby Roughing against Andre Roy|
|Andre Roy Roughing against Garnet Exelby|
|Tobias Enstrom Holding against Martin St. Louis|
|Doug Janik Fighting against Chris Thorburn|
|Chris Thorburn Fighting against Doug Janik|
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