The Atlanta Thrashers hope to set franchise records for their longest win streak and most consecutive games without suffering a regulation loss Thursday when they visit a Tampa Bay Lightning team that handed them their last defeat.
Atlanta (18-7-4) matched the longest win streak in team history with its fifth straight victory Tuesday, 5-2 at Toronto. The Thrashers have also earned a point in seven straight games, including a 3-2 overtime loss at Tampa Bay (13-13-2) on Nov. 24.
In that contest, Atlanta took a 2-0 lead before Dan Boyle scored a pair of power-play goals and Martin St. Louis scored in OT to give the Lightning their third win in four games against the Thrashers this season.
Atlanta came back from a 2-0 deficit and scored five goals in the third period Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. Slava Kozlov had two goals and an assist, and Glen Metropolit added a goal and two assists.
"We need to keep going if we want to be at the top of the league," said Kozlov, who has two goals and six assists in the last four games.
Marian Hossa added a goal and an assist Tuesday, giving him five goals and five assists in his last four contests. Hossa, whose 41 points lead the NHL, has three goals and an assist in the four matchups with Tampa Bay this season.
Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen is expected to be back in net Thursday after backup Johan Hedberg made 17 saves on Tuesday to improve to 5-2-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average this season. Lehtonen is 2-3-2 with a 2.46 GAA in eight starts against Tampa Bay.
The Lightning lost their season-high fourth straight on Tuesday, 4-1 at home to Buffalo. They haven't dropped five in a row since a six-game skid from Nov. 1-11, 2005.
"We have played OK at times," said Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, whose team has been outscored 18-8 during the slide. "You have to score goals. You're not going to win if you don't score goals."
Tampa Bay went 0-for-5 on the power-play Tuesday, and has failed to convert on 23 straight opportunities with the man advantage in the last four games.
"We played a very good game, but not good enough," captain Tim Taylor said. "We didn't win. It's all about winning and losing, and right now we're losing."
Vincent Lecavalier has scored half the team's goals during the losing streak, but has been held to one score in his last seven games against Atlanta.
Tampa Bay is 13-5-1 with one tie against the Thrashers at home.
|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|