NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, December 26th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Atlanta 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone scored the eventual game-winner early in the third period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Steve Downie had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four games. Alex Tanguay and Mike Lundin had a goal apiece for Tampa Bay, which got 24 saves from Mike Smith.
"That's huge. They're a good team. For us to beat them here, in an important part of the year, we're happy about it," Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier said.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov each recorded a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who have dropped four in a row. Marty Reasoner had the other goal for Atlanta, which got 30 saves from Ondrej Pavelec.
With the score tied at 2-2, Tanguay lit the lamp at the 5:04 mark of the third to put Tampa Bay ahead. Downie controlled the disc in front of Pavelec and slid a pass over to Tanguay, who chipped the puck into the back the net.
The Lightning went ahead 4-2 less than two minutes later. Martin St. Louis' slapper from the right circle set up a rebound in front for Malone, who fired a shot into an open half of the net.
Kovalchuk lit the lamp with 3:10 remaining to cut the gap to one, but Tampa Bay held on for the win.
The Thrashers drew first blood at the 11:48 mark of the first period. Maxim Afinogenov, who was at his own blue line, flipped a pass over a Tampa Bay defender and onto the stick of a streaking Kovalchuk, who fired a shot on net from inside the left circle. The puck bounced off Smith's pad, allowing Antropov to slam home the rebound.
The Lightning tied the contest less than two minutes later. A shot from the point set up a scramble in front of the net. Downie gathered the loose puck and fired a wrister past Pavelec.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 on Lundin's first career score at the 4:44 mark of the second. Lundin stole the disc at center ice and slid a pass to Lecavalier, who charged down the right side of the ice. Lecavalier then set up Lundin between the circles.
Atlanta deadlocked the contest at two on Reasoner's score with 3:06 to play in the second. Reasoner's shot went off the post before deflecting off Smith and into the net.
"The last couple games have been very disappointing but there is a lot of hockey to play yet," Thrashers head coach John Anderson said.
Coming into the game, Atlanta had won five of eight and 11 of the last 15 meetings over the Bolts...Tampa Bay recalled defenseman Lundin and goaltender Riku Helenius from Norfolk (AHL)...The Lightning had lost three straight on home ice...Lecavalier assisted on the first three Tampa tallies.
12/27 01:38:53 ET