TAMPA — Seriously, doesn't the law of averages have to catch up with the Lightning when it plays the Thrashers?
No, said Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher.
"I never believe in the law of averages because that's about the past," he said. "Today is a new day. You make what you want out of it."
What the Lightning made Sunday with a 7-1 victory that included a five-goal second period was its 11th straight win over Atlanta and fifth straight over it at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"Sometimes, that's the way it is," left wing Simon Gagne said. "We've just had their number."
The win was the fourth straight overall for Southeast-leading Tampa Bay (30-15-5), which reached 30 wins in 50 games (seven fewer than the 2004 Stanley Cup team), swept the six-game season series from the Thrashers and showed no deficiencies.
Six players scored. Gagne got two. Steven Stamkos got his 38th goal and 67th point, both of which lead the league, and Nate Thompson scored the team's first short-handed goal of the season.
Marty St. Louis and Pavel Kubina had a goal and an assist each, and goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 21 saves and faced only nine shots after the first period as Tampa Bay had a 39-22 advantage.
"You wish every game was like this," said Teddy Purcell, who had three assists.
It turned in the second period.
Thompson scored 14 seconds in on a two-on-one after stealing the puck at the Lightning blue line. Dana Tyrell and Stamkos scored in the next 5:25 to make it 3-0.
St. Louis, who reached 20 goals for the eighth straight season, tallied with 9:55 left after a terrific play and pass from behind the goal line by Steve Downie, whose hustle kept goalie Peter Mannino from covering the puck.
Gagne made it 5-0 with 2:20 left by knocking in a rebound after Vinny Lecavalier hit a post.
"We had great work ethic," Boucher said. "We were always four and five guys back. We didn't give anything on the rush. If you stick to that, eventually you find the opponent's holes."
They created some, too, with a good forecheck and by getting traffic in front of the net, from where four goals were scored.
"We weren't too worried about what they were going to do," Thompson said. "We were worried about what we were going to do, which was forecheck, play our transition game, shoot pucks on net, screen the goalie, and we did that."
"We lost our composure after they score that short-handed goal," Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. "They smelled blood and attacked."
That is how you overcome the law of averages.
First Period—None. Penalties—Ohlund, TB (high-sticking), 12:53; Downie, TB (roughing), 19:11.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Thompson 7, :14 (sh). 2, Tampa Bay, Tyrell 5 (Moore, Kubina), 1:56. 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 38 (St. Louis, Lundin), 5:39. 4, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 20 (Downie), 10:05. 5, Tampa Bay, Gagne 7 (Lecavalier, Purcell), 17:40. Penalties—None.
Third Period—6, Tampa Bay, Kubina 3 (Purcell), 5:32. 7, Tampa Bay, Gagne 8 (Lecavalier, Purcell), 10:56 (pp). 8, Atlanta, Peverley 13 (Bergfors), 15:57. Penalties—Stapleton, Atl (goaltender interference), 9:19; Peverley, Atl (cross-checking, roughing), 10:25; Moore, TB (roughing), 10:25. Shots on Goal—Atlanta 13-4-5—22. Tampa Bay 14-16-9—39. Power-play opportunities—Atlanta 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 1 of 2. Goalies—Atlanta, Pavelec 16-12-7 (19 shots-16 saves), Mannino (5:39 second, 20-16). Tampa Bay, Roloson 12-16-1 (22-21). A—13,916 (19,758).