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Nate Thompson gives Tampa Bay Lightning first short-handed goal

TAMPA — Nate Thompson said he and his mates on the penalty kill were "definitely aware" the Lightning was the only team in the league without a short-handed goal.

"But we weren't too worried about it," he said.

In fact, "We joked about it. Usually, when you're short-handed, you're not worried too much about scoring goals."

Even so, when Thompson scored the club's first 14 seconds into the second for a 1-0 lead Sunday, the center admitted, "It was nice. It's a good confidence-boost for the penalty kill; better late than never."

Tampa Bay's penalty kill is seventh in the league at 83.7 percent. It is even better at home, where it has killed 16 straight power plays (two against the Thrashers) and is ranked first at 88.9 percent.

"Your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer," Thompson said. "But also lots of communication, good clears, shot blocking, sticks in (shooting) lanes."

And stealing the puck as Thompson did from Thrashers D Zach Bogosian to spark a two-on-one that led to his goal.

"He's been quite an inspiration," coach Guy Boucher said of Thompson. "It's only fitting that he gets it."

ON THE OTHER HAND: The Lightning has allowed nine short-handed goals, tied with the Sabres for the league lead.

NEW UNIFORMS: The Lightning could unveil new uniforms today. Speculation is the primary colors will be blue (much like its current third jersey) and white.

The words "Tampa Bay" are expected to be eliminated from the home logo, which will be a prominent lightning bolt. The away jersey will retain the words "Tampa Bay" in the logo, though there was no word on the design.

Both jerseys will have ties at the front of the collar. The fate of the third jersey was unclear.

MALONE HURT: W Ryan Malone sat with what Boucher described as a "mid body" injury sustained Friday against Florida.

"He's day to day, but he's a lot worse than we thought (Sunday)," Boucher said. "He has a muscle pull and can't raise his legs."

NO SOLOS: After G Dan Ellis shined in the shootout win over Florida, he declined to answer a question about personal satisfaction.

"It really doesn't matter if it's a personal thing," he said Sunday. "In the end, it's a team game. We're not playing tennis here. We're not playing golf. It's not the individual that wins the game. It's the collective group."

Even so, Ellis, who has struggled, is rebuilding confidence personally and with the coaches. In his past three games (two starts), he is 1-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

"I do feel I'm getting back to playing the way I can play; a little more of a reactionary style," said Ellis, 12-7-5 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .887 save percentage. "I've tried to play a tight, blocking game in the past, and it hasn't been successful. I'm trying to get back to my comfort zone."

MINOR REPORT: G Mike Smith, with AHL Norfolk on a conditioning assignment, stopped 26 of 29 shots Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Syracuse. … D Marc-Andre Bergeron (knee) returned to the lineup.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning swept a season series for the 12th time but the first of six games. …D Matt Smaby was scratched.

Nate Thompson gives Tampa Bay Lightning first short-handed goal 01/23/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 23, 2011 10:46pm]
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