NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, January 23rd)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Atlanta 1 (SO)
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Jeff Halpern scored the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Atlanta Thrashers, 2-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Steven Stamkos scored in regulation for the Lightning, who were coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Maple Leafs on Thursday. Antero Niittymaki made 37 saves for Tampa Bay, which improved to 13-6-5 at home for the season and is 6-1-1 over its last eight outings at St. Pete Times Forum.
"It's good for our goalie to keep us in it the whole game and give us a chance to win," Halpern said. "It's a credit to him. We obviously have to play a lot better to win consistently."
Nik Antropov had the lone goal for the Thrashers, who have dropped two in a row. Johan Hedberg turned aside 24-of-25 shots for Atlanta, which has lost 10 of its last 11 away games (1-7-3).
"I think we out-chanced them with the power plays, but at the end of the day they got the better result in the shootout," Thrashers defenseman Ron Hainsey said.
Following a scoreless first three rounds of the shootout, Tampa Bay's Kurtis Foster led off the fourth with what appeared to be a goal. Hedberg came sprawling out of his net to poke check at the puck. The disc ended up bouncing into the net, but the replay showed that the puck hit off Foster's shin before going in. Thus, the goal was waved off.
Niittymaki then made a glove save on Rich Peverley to send the shootout into a fifth frame. Halpern's wrister went through Hedberg's five-hole, and Niittymaki turned away Todd White's shot to secure the win.
Atlanta drew first blood at the 5:23 mark of the first period. Bryan Little, who was positioned at the right circle, slid a pass in front to Antropov, whose snap shot got past Niittymaki.
Just over two minutes later, Stamkos' slapper on the power play deadlocked the contest at 1-1.
Tampa Bay leads the season series with Atlanta, 3-1. Despite the loss, the Thrashers are 11-2-3 against the Lightning in the last 16 overall tilts of this series...Atlanta went 0-for-5 on the power play, while Tampa Bay went 1- for-4.
01/24 02:20:36 ET