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Tampa Bay
Lightning
43-33-6
Atlanta
Thrashers
41-33-8

23 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TBL
ATL
game preview

Lightning-Thrashers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Lightning-Thrashers Preview
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Atlanta Thrashers

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (3-7-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

While the power-play unit of the Tampa Bay Lightning continues to struggle, they have had no such problems with their penalty killing.

The Lightning, owners of the league's best penalty-killing unit, look to extend their winning streak to a season-best three games when they face the struggling Atlanta Thrashers.

The Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Friday, as Vincent Lecavalier scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal with 5:07 left.

Dan Boyle, Martin St. Louis and Vaclav Prospal also scored for the Lightning, who have won two straight for the first time this season.

"I guess the biggest thing from a coaching standpoint, our players stayed together," coach John Tortorella said. "We stayed within ourselves and found a way to get it done. That's a good sign."

The Lightning killed all five Washington power-play chances and have not allowed a power- play goal in seven consecutive games. Tampa Bay has given up just two goals when down a man this season.

However, that has been offset by a power play that has scored only nine goals in 78 opportunities.

The Thrashers have lost six of their last seven, including Thursday's 7-5 defeat to the previously winless Pittsburgh Penguins. Ilya Kovalchuk scored one goal and helped set up three others in the first 9:50 of the game, but Atlanta squandered the 4-0 lead.

"It was 4-0 and we let them have two bad goals and things got out of control from there," coach Bob Hartley said.

Goalie Steve Shields made his first start of the season after being signed earlier in the day for Atlanta and allowed all seven goals, six on the power play. With starting goalie Kari Lehtonen and backup Mike Dunham out with groin injuries, Shields became the fifth goalie used by the Thrashers in 10 games.

Atlanta entered the game ranked last in the NHL with a 74.1 percent penalty-kill percentage.

"That's the way the game is played now, games are won on the power play and today was no different," Shields said.

Tampa Bay pounded Atlanta 6-0 in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 20. Atlanta's Eric Boulton took out Tampa Bay's Paul Ranger with an elbow to the head with two and a half minutes left in the game, prompting an expletive-filled tirade from Tortorella.

"The ... guy should be playing in the ... East Coast Hockey League, but instead he takes out a ... NHLer," Tortorella said. "He'll be suspended, but who ... cares? No one wants to see him on the ice anyway."

The Lightning, however, won't get a chance to exact revenge because Boulton was suspended six games without pay by the NHL on Monday.

STANDINGS: Lightning - 14 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Southeast Division. Thrashers - 6 points, 5th place, 9 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Lecavalier and Prospal, 7 goals; Brad Richards, 9 assists; Lecavalier, 15 points; Pavel Kubina, 22 PIM. Thrashers - Marc Savard, Peter Bondra and Kovalchuk, 4 goals; Savard and Marian Hossa, 9 assists; Savard, 13 points; Boulton, 38 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Lightning - Power play: 11.5 percent (9 for 78), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 96.4 percent (55 for 57), 1st. Thrashers - Power play: 18.9 percent (15 for 79), 12th. Penalty killing: 74.1 percent (63 for 85), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - John Grahame (4-3-1, 1 SO, 2.28 GAA); Sean Burke (2-0-1, 1.56). Thrashers - Adam Berkhoel (1-2-0, 3.96); Shields (0-1-0, 7.00).

SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 20; Lightning, 6-0. At Atlanta, Fredrik Modin scored two goals and Grahame needed to make only 15 saves for the shutout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 3-1-1 on the road; Thrashers - 2-3-0.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '06 ATL 6 at TBL 2 A. Sutton
Apr 06 '06 ATL 2 at TBL 3 - SO B. Richards
Mar 30 '06 ATL 3 at TBL 4 P. Ranger
Jan 21 '06 TBL 2 at ATL 0 F. Modin
Nov 11 '05 TBL 2 at ATL 5 I. Kovalchuk
Nov 01 '05 ATL 6 at TBL 4 J. Modry
Oct 29 '05 TBL 3 at ATL 2 F. Modin
Oct 20 '05 TBL 6 at ATL 0 M. St. Louis