Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Atlanta Thrashers 6-2

TAMPA — Sometimes it's a matter of skill. Sometimes it's a matter of will. Sometimes it's a matter of a fortuitous bounce.

And sometimes it's a matter of all three coming together on one play.

That's what Lightning forward Marty St. Louis showed on a game-changing goal that helped his team beat the Thrashers 6-2 Saturday night to snap a five-game skid before a raucous crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum that included new owner Jeff Vinik.

The Lightning (27-26-11) desperately needed to right itself after falling into 11th place in the East standings, three points behind Southern Division rival Atlanta, which held the eighth, and final, playoff spot. But the Thrashers scored 3:22 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead.

Enter St. Louis, who blended singular brilliance and relentlessness with a bit of luck.

He reached back to control a pass from center Steven Stamkos that caromed off the boards, wheeled around to speed down the ice and, while going down, nudged the puck and saw it go off defenseman Johnny Oduya's skate and by goaltender Johan Hedberg for the equalizer at 8:47.

Suddenly, everything was different. Stamkos, who now has at least one point in a league-high 16 consecutive games, followed with a power-play goal, and wing Paul Szczechura, called up Saturday from AHL Norfolk, made it 3-1 with a goal to cap off a frenetic opening period.

The Thrashers narrowed their deficit to 3-2 on right wing Colby Armstrong's goal with 6:23 left in the second. But then recently acquired right wing Teddy Purcell was taken down by former Lightning star Pavel Kubina on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, which he converted for his first goal as a member of the Lightning to maintain a two-goal margin after two.

Although it had faltered badly in the final period in its two losses since the Olympic break ended, the Lightning didn't let up on this night. Center Vinny Lecavalier scored off assists from St. Louis (his second of the game) and Purcell at the 4:01 mark to pad the lead.

That was more than enough for a defense anchored by goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who improved his career record against Atlanta to 17-0-0, including 4-0 this season.

But the Lightning continued to show fight. When Atlanta wing Clarke MacArthur leveled St. Louis with about eight minutes left, Lightning wing Steve Downie jumped in to stick up for his linemate. Soon both teams were at it, except for the goaltenders and St. Louis, who was down on the ice for several minutes before he skated off. Stamkos followed moments later with another goal, his 40th of the season.

St. Louis didn't return to the game but afterward seemed fine. He said he'll be evaluated again today.

Lightning 3 1 2 6
Thrashers 1 1 0 2
Lightning 3 1 2 6
Thrashers 1 1 0 2

First Period1, Atlanta, Bergfors 19 (Little, Antropov), 3:22. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 23 (Stamkos, Downie), 8:47. 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 39 (Foster, St. Louis), 13:06 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Szczechura 3 (Bochenski, Tanguay), 17:00. PenaltiesSzczechura, TB (tripping), 5:33; Oduya, Atl (slashing), 11:37; Antropov, Atl (delay of game), 13:38; Little, Atl (tripping), 17:31.

Second Period5, Atlanta, Armstrong 11 (Artyukhin, Peverley), 13:37. 6, Tampa Bay, Purcell 4 (penalty shot), 16:36. PenaltiesParrish, TB (hooking), 2:45; Meszaros, TB (tripping), 6:24; Purcell, TB (tripping), 13:57; Afinogenov, Atl (slashing), 16:36.

Third Period7, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 18 (St. Louis, Purcell), 4:01. 8, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 40 (Szczechura, Bochenski), 16:19. PenaltiesSt. Louis, TB (hooking), 4:37; Kubina, Atl (roughing), 12:14; Thorburn, Atl (roughing), 12:14; Downie, TB, double minor-misconduct (roughing), 12:14; Thorburn, Atl, major (fighting), 18:05; Walker, TB, major (fighting), 18:05. Shots on GoalAtlanta 10-13-8—31. Tampa Bay 14-11-5—30. Power-play opportunitiesAtlanta 0 of 5; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. GoaliesAtlanta, Hedberg 16-10-5 (30 shots-24 saves). Tampa Bay, Niittymaki 17-11-5 (31-29). A19,926 (19,758).

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Atlanta Thrashers 6-2 03/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 6, 2010 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after:Matt Andriese trying to put good finish on injury-marred season

    Blogs

    RHP Matt Andriese can't make up for the 2 1/2 months he missed due to a hip injury this season after getting off to a solid 5-1, 3.54 start.

  2. College football viewing guide for Week 4

    College

    COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Derrick Baity #8 of the Kentucky Wildcats is congratulated after intercepting a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages) 775018963
  3. Why a true freshman quarterback doesn't kill FSU's title hopes

    College

    Florida State's James Blackman will make history Saturday when the No. 12 Seminoles host North Carolina State in their first game after Hurricane Irma.

    Florida State quarterback James Blackman warms up before a game against Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. When Florida State's Deandre Francois, Georgia's Jacob Eason and Texas A&M's Nick Starkel all got hurt in their respective season openers, true freshmen ended up taking over the rest of the way.  (Joe Rondone/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
  4. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation

    Blogs

    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  5. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.