Dan Boyle could have a good chance to build off the best offensive game of his career.
Coming off his first career hat trick and four-point game, Boyle leads the Lightning on Tuesday against the Atlanta Thrashers, a team he has dominated in the past.
Boyle tallied all his points in the third period as Tampa Bay (17-17-2) erased a three-goal deficit to beat the New York Rangers 4-3. Boyle, who had not scored a goal in his previous six games, has eight goals and 19 assists this season.
"It's an awesome feeling," he said after recording the first three-goal game by a Lightning defenseman since Doug Crossman against the New York Islanders on Nov. 7, 1992.
"I just reminded myself to shoot the puck," Boyle told Tampa Bay's official Web site. "I made a lot of passes in the first two periods to try to set up guys, which is what I usually do. But again, I just reminded myself to shoot more."
Boyle has four goals and two assists in five games against the Thrashers this season and has two points in each of his last three against them. In 30 career games against Atlanta, Boyle has nine goals - his most against any team - and eight assists.
Boyle assisted on a third-period goal by Vincent Lecavalier, who has three goals and three assists in his last three games. Lecavalier had a hat trick and two assists in an 8-0 rout of Atlanta on Dec. 7.
The Lightning have won three straight and four of five against the Thrashers this season. Tampa Bay also has taken five of the last six meetings in Atlanta.
Tampa Bay has won three straight overall after a four-game losing streak, but is in fourth place in the Southeast Division, 12 points behind Atlanta (21-10-6).
The Thrashers beat New Jersey 5-2 on Saturday for their third win in a row. Ilya Kovachuk had a goal and is tied for sixth in the league with 20 this season. Kari Lehtonen stopped 36 shots for his 16th win.
"Two points always feels good," Lehtonen said. "We need to keep piling up the points."
The Thrashers dropped five in a row before their current winning streak, but still lead the Southeast Division by six points over second-place Carolina, which has 42 points.
"I like our focus right now," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "We are on the job and we take pride in what we are doing."
Captain Scott Mellanby missed his second straight game after suffering a neck stinger in a shootout victory last Tuesday at New Jersey. The right wing is fourth on the team with 19 points.
|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|