Here is my game story from the Thrashers loss to the Lightning Sunday night for those who would like to comment.
The Lightning have the Thrashers’ number – and it’s a big one.
Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta 3-2 in overtime on Sunday night at Philips Arena for its nine consecutive win, including all four meetings this season. Vincent Lecavalier scored his second goal of the game, on a power play, at the 1:13 mark of the extra period for the win.
The Lightning now own the NHL’s longest active consecutive win streak by one team over another. The last Thrashers’ win came Oct. 3, 2009, in the opening game of last season. That broke a three-way tie for league dominance; San Jose has beaten Philadelphia eight straight times and Boston has done the same to Edmonton.
The Thrashers (19-13-6, 44 points) lost for the third straight time. Since a 10-2 streak, the Thrashers have lost five of seven games (2-2-3).
The Lightning (21-10-5, 47 points) kept the lead in the Southeast Division with their second straight win. They have compiled points in their past eight games (6-0-2) and are tied with Washington.
The game-winning goal came with the Lightning skating 4-on-3 in the extra period after a boarding penalty to Dustin Byfuglien with 10.3 seconds left in regulation.
“Yes,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said when asked if it was fair to call it a bad penalty taken by Byfuglien. “He knows he made a mistake. Unfortunately it cost us. We still managed to get a point. We have to be smarter. We talk a lot of discipline. We’ve had it but we have to stay disciplined throughout the game no matter what’s happening around us.”
The Thrashers got a late goal from Fredrik Modin — with 3:43 left in regulation — to tie the game at 2-2 and send it to overtime. The forward saved the Thrashers by backhanding the rebound of a Jim Slater shot past Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis for his seventh goal of the season.
Ondrej Pavelec said the Thrashers wasted the opportunity after tying the game.
“We had a big chance to win the game and we just gave it to them,” said the goaltender, who faced 34 shots. We gave them two points. “4-on-3 you usually score. 4-on-3 is pretty tough [to stop].”
The Lightning opened the scoring on a goal by – who else? – Steven Stamkos. The forward pounced on a rebound as Ryan Malone rushed the net and forced a shot at Pavelec. It was Stamkos’ 28th goal of the season, coming at the 8:14 mark of the first period.
In four games against the Thrashers this season, Stamkos has eight points (six goals, two assists). That brought his career total to 22 points (13 goals, nine assists) in 16 games against Atlanta, his highest point total against any NHL team.
The Thrashers’ Zach Bogosian tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period, the beneficiary of two drop passes. Bryan Little skated with the puck into the offensive zone and left the puck for Anthony Stewart, who dropped it for a streaking Bogosian. The defenseman blasted a shot past for his third goal of the season. The game-tying goal came at the 6:03 mark. With the assist, Little extended his point streak to four games with one goal and four assists.
It took the Lightning just 3:01 to regain the lead on another rebound. Simon Gagne took a shot that Pavelec initially stopped. However the puck bounced right to Lacavalier, who buried the puck in the back of the net.
The Lightning thwarted the Thrashers’ offense by clogging the neutral zone, a point that Ramsay admitted frustrated his team.
“It’s something we’ve got to figure out,” Modin said. “We’ve got a couple of other cracks at them.”
The Thrashers killed off nearly four minutes of penalty time midway through the period. A questionable tripping penalty to Johnny Oduya and a holding call on Modin overlapped by nine seconds. The Thrashers allowed just two shots, late in the last power play, to keep it a one-goal game heading into the final period.
The Thrashers power play dropped to 2-for-29 over the past 10 games. They had one power-play chance, but it lasted just 48 seconds when a hooking call to Tobias Enstrom nullified the man advantage. They had another over the final 1:13 of regulation, but that was negated on Byfuglien’s boarding call that carried over into overtime.
“It is undisciplined,” Ramsay said. “We talked so much about that. Our penalties are down significantly. But you can’t let frustration dictate how you play.”
The Philips Arena crowd was announced at 14,610 making it the third straight home game with more that 14,000 in attendance.