The Atlanta Thrashers are showing their offense doesn't revolve solely around Ilya Kovalchuk.
In a rematch of their opener, the Thrashers play their first road game of the season when they meet the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
Kovalchuk, tied with Washington's Alexander Ovechkin for third in the league with 52 goals in 2005-06, has yet to score in the first two games for the Thrashers (1-0-1), and six straight dating to last season.
The top overall pick in the 2001 entry draft had two six-game goal droughts in 2005-06, and Atlanta lost 11 of those 12 games.
Although his club has played well in the first two contests without a contribution from Kovalchuk, the star forward might be facing the right team Monday as he looks to get his first goal of the season. He has 14 goals, including four on the power play, in 23 games against Tampa Bay.
Atlanta got two power-play goals from Marian Hossa in a 6-0 victory over Florida on Saturday. Hossa scored 39 goals in his first season with the Thrashers after being acquired from Ottawa for Dany Heatley after the lockout ended.
"The first game we played good in the first period, but we did not in the other two," Hossa said Saturday. "Tonight we knew we had to play a full 60 minutes. We did everything right tonight."
Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves en route to his fourth career shutout. The second overall pick in 2002 missed most of the first three months of last season with a groin injury.
"That's always great (getting a shutout)," Lehtonen said. "The hard thing is to get this out of my head and focus on the next game."
The victory came after a 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay (1-1-0) on Thursday night. Hossa scored one of the Thrashers' two first-period goals, but Atlanta managed just five shots in the final two periods and overtime after getting six in the opening 20 minutes.
The Thrashers won only three of eight meetings with the Lightning last season, but two of those wins came in Tampa.
Another star who has yet to score is the Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier. He led the team with 35 goals last season, but has failed to find the net in the first two games.
The top overall pick by the Lightning in 1998, Lecavalier is Tampa Bay's all-time leading goal scorer with 181.
Lecavalier, who has picked up an assist in both games, has scored eight of his 15 goals against the Thrashers in Atlanta.
Second-year center Ryan Craig has picked up the slack by getting off to a hot start for Tampa Bay. Craig scored 15 goals in 48 games as a rookie last season, but already has three this season.
After scoring twice Thursday against Atlanta, Craig's second-period goal tied Saturday's matchup with Boston at 2, but new starting goaltender Marc Denis gave up the game winner to Patrice Bergeron 1:39 into the third in a 3-2 defeat.
Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, unhappy with the play from his top two forward units, gave his third line playing time in key situations late in the game.
"I think our top two lines need to take a lesson from that," Tortorella said.
|Apr 07 '07||TBL 2 at ATL 3 - SO||J. Sim|
|Feb 22 '07||TBL 5 at ATL 4 - OT||M. St. Louis|
|Dec 26 '06||TBL 1 at ATL 2||J. Slater|
|Dec 07 '06||ATL 0 at TBL 8||V. Lecavalier|
|Nov 24 '06||ATL 2 at TBL 3 - OT||M. St. Louis|
|Nov 11 '06||ATL 3 at TBL 5||V. Lecavalier|
|Oct 09 '06||ATL 1 at TBL 0||V. Kozlov|
|Oct 05 '06||TBL 3 at ATL 2 - SO||V. Lecavalier|