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35-34-13
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31 SOG
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game recap

Lightning 4, Thrashers 3, OT

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Peter Pupello - Lightning Beat Reporter

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Lightning 4, Thrashers 3, OT
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Atlanta Thrashers 3

With his stellar play through 21 games this season, it has been hard to tell if Steven Stamkos is making a stronger case for an Olympic team bid or for his reputation as an NHL superstar. On Sunday at Philips Arena, the 2008 first overall pick accomplished both.

Stamkos netted the game-winning goal nearly three minutes into overtime as the Lightning beat the Thrashers 4-3 for their first back-to-back wins of the season.

Tampa Bay goaltender Antero Niittymaki stopped 28 of 31 shots and earned his 15th consecutive win over a Southeast division opponent, including improving his record against the Thrashers to 14-0-0. Niittymaki is 6-1-3 this season and leads the NHL with a .936 save percentage while ranking second in goals against average with 2.02.

The Lightning held a 15-8 shot advantage after a scoreless first period, but it was Ryan Malone and Vincent Lecavalier’s back-to-back scoring efforts off the post that signaled the Bolts were due for the game’s first tally.

Stephane Veilleux delivered, netting his first goal of the year that gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 5:45 in the middle frame. Kurtis Foster totaled his second assist in as many games after opening the season’s first 19 contests without a point and Zenon Konopka, who leads the Lightning in penalty minutes and in faceoff percentage, earned his first point of the season on the game’s initial score.

“It’s always nice to get on the scoreboard. It took a while, but with more games and adjustment, it will come,” Veilleux told Lightning play-by-play radio announcer Dave Mishkin.

Ryan Malone put Tampa Bay up by a pair just before the horn sounded heading into the final period with his 14th goal of the season. Malone has scored a point in six out of his last seven games.

 “The energy was what we were hoping for and I think it was delivered,” Lightning associate head coach Rick Wilson told Lightning radio. “Excellent work by our forwards, getting into good lanes and getting good support.”

Atlanta cut the two-goal deficit to one early in the third period as Tobias Enstrom slipped a puck past Niittymaki from the high slot, recording his third goal of the season.

Tampa Bay bounced back, however, when Foster responded with his second tally of the night, completing his first multi-point game of the season with a goal that gave the Bolts a 3-1 advantage at 9:20.

But what appeared to be a comfortable lead quickly turned. Just minutes later, the Thrashers proved why they hold the league’s top spot in average goals per game, as they continued to be a menace to the opposition in the third period. Vyacheslav Kozlov and rookie Evander Kane scored two goals under two minutes to tie the game late in the third period to force overtime.

After blowing a late two-goal lead, the Lightning looked for a pick-me-up and got just what they needed as Stamkos played the role of hero, scoring the game winner 2:56 into the extra session with his team-leading 15th goal of the season.

“That one felt good. It was obviously big. I thought we played really well for two periods of the game, but once again we showed we could come back and we didn’t stay down after they tied it up. We’ll take five out of eight points on the road coming back home,” Stamkos told Lightning color analyst Bobby Taylor after the game.

Martin St. Louis also totaled his fifth point in two games against Atlanta this season by recording three assists. The Lightning forward’s performance marked the first time he had recorded at least two points in a game since Oct. 12 against the Florida Panthers.

The win kept the Bolts ahead of Atlanta for the second spot in the division, as they have recorded 13 points in their last nine games.

 

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
05:45
TBL
Stephane Veilleux (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Zenon Konopka (1), Kurtis Foster (2)
1 - 0 TBL
19:36
TBL
Ryan Malone (14) Wrist shot - ASST: Martin St. Louis (17), Steven Stamkos (9)
2 - 0 TBL
3rd Period
05:29
ATL
Tobias Enstrom (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Vyacheslav Kozlov (8), Nik Antropov (18)
2 - 1 TBL
09:20
TBL
PPG - Kurtis Foster (1) Slapshot - ASST: Alex Tanguay (9), Martin St. Louis (18)
3 - 1 TBL
15:37
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Nik Antropov (19)
3 - 2 TBL
17:29
ATL
Evander Kane (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Todd White (6), Tobias Enstrom (13)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
02:56
TBL
Steven Stamkos (15) Tip-in - ASST: Martin St. Louis (19), Alex Tanguay (10)
4 - 3 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
02:57
ATL
Eric Boulton  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
06:50
ATL
Pavel Kubina  Hooking against  Ryan Malone
10:57
TBL
Steve Downie  Too many men/ice - bench
19:15
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier  Hooking against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
2nd Period
02:46
ATL
Christoph Schubert  Boarding against  Steve Downie
11:06
ATL
Maxim Afinogenov  Interference against  Jeff Halpern
3rd Period
07:29
ATL
Todd White  Interference against  Stephane Veilleux
12:18
TBL
Alex Tanguay  Cross checking against  Todd White
19:07
ATL
Maxim Afinogenov  Roughing against  Steve Downie
19:07
ATL
Maxim Afinogenov  Roughing against  Steve Downie
19:07
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Maxim Afinogenov
19:07
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Maxim Afinogenov
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 31TOI: 62:56
Saves: 28EV: 23 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .903SH: 2 - 2
Ondrej Pavelec
Ondrej Pavelec
6-5-3
SA: 40TOI: 62:39
Saves: 36EV: 24 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 10
SV%: .900SH: 3 - 3