ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Thrashers keep losing games - and they're building a pretty long list of enemies, too.
Fredrik Modin scored two goals, John Grahame needed to make only 15 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Thrashers another brutal loss, 6-0 Thursday night.
Atlanta has lost four straight games by a combined score of 22-2, but the angriest coach after the game was Tampa Bay's John Tortorella.
He directed an expletive-filled tirade at Eric Boulton, who took out Paul Ranger of the Lightning with a cheap shot just 2 1/2 minutes from the end of the rout.
``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.''
Atlanta's Bob Hartley was seen going into Tortorella's office after the game, but the Tampa Bay coach wouldn't say what they discussed.
``None of your business,'' Tortorella said, before storming away to the team bus.
The ending was familiar for the Thrashers. They got blown out again, and are likely to get another player suspended for a play straight out of the movie ``Slap Shot.''
With the home fans booing the dismal performance, Boulton delivered a flagrant elbow to the side of Ranger's head. Boulton received a game misconduct, and Ranger staggered off the ice. At the very least, he appeared to suffer a concussion that would keep him out a week.
``I'm not sure how he is,'' Tortorella said, shaking his head.
Atlanta's Andy Sutton already is serving a four-game suspension for his hit on Toronto's Darcy Tucker near the end of a 9-1 loss last Friday. That game turned especially ugly in the third period, beginning with Boulton's hit on Eric Lindros with the game already long decided.
That sparked a melee that led to the ejection of Boulton and two other players.
Just 23 seconds later, Sutton was ejected after he drove Darcy Tucker into the boards, leaving the Toronto player with a bloodied forehead that required several stitches.
Vincent Lecavalier assisted on three Tampa Bay goals before finishing off the scoring with one of his own. He intercepted a pass by rookie Braydon Coburn and snapped a shot over Adam Berkhoel's shoulder.
Modin scored twice before the game was 14 minutes old, helping Tampa Bay build a 4-0 lead in the first period.
Atlanta is struggling without its top two goalies. Kari Lehtonen and Mike Dunham are both out with groin injuries, forcing the team to go with a pair of rookies - Michael Garnett and Berkhoel.
Garnett was yanked after giving up three goals on seven shots in the first 11:34, two of them on stoppable shots. Berkhoel took over and turned away 26 of 29 shots, but it didn't matter.
The Thrashers' problems go beyond their last line of defense. They have been shut out three times in their first seven games. In their first five losses, they have scored only two goals.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who missed the first three games in a contract dispute, has managed only one goal since returning to the Thrashers. He was booed when he let the puck slip under his stick with Atlanta on the power play.
``We have a great group of players, but this is embarrassing,'' Hartley said. ``There's no other way to explain the way we've played. It's embarrassing.''
Martin St. Louis opened the scoring just 1:25 into the game, somehow slipping a puck past Garnett with a shot along the goal line.
Garnett gave the Thrashers a lift when he stopped Ruslan Fedotenko on a penalty shot, but it didn't last long. Modin scored at 3:37, beating a helpless Garnett on a 2-on-1 after taking a perfect pass from Lecavalier.
Then, less than a minute later, Garnett failed to stop Fedotenko's wrist shot from the top of the circle, prompting Hartley to send in his other rookie goalie.
Hartley refused to blame his young goalies for the latest loss.
``Those two young kids are trying to battle,'' he said. ``Why would I waste any time on the two kids. We had no goals. Three shutouts in seven games - that's absolutely unacceptable.''
Notes: The Thrashers are the first team since the 1993-94 Detroit Red Wings to use four goalies in their first six games. ... Vaclav Prospal scored Tampa Bay's other goal late in the second period.
|PPG - Martin St. Louis (2) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (3), Brad Richards (4)|
1 - 0 TBL
|Freddy Modin (3) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (4)|
2 - 0 TBL
|Ruslan Fedotenko (2) ASST: Vinny Prospal (5), Paul Ranger (1)|
3 - 0 TBL
|PPG - Freddy Modin (4) ASST: Dave Andreychuk (5), Brad Richards (5)|
4 - 0 TBL
|Vinny Prospal (5) ASST: Pavel Kubina (2), Vincent Lecavalier (5)|
5 - 0 TBL
|Vincent Lecavalier (5) ASST: NONE|
6 - 0 TBL
|Ronald Petrovicky Hooking|
|Ilya Kovalchuk Hooking against Pavel Kubina|
|Serge Aubin Holding against Freddy Modin|
|Marc Savard Hooking against Pavel Kubina|
|Nick Tarnasky Hooking|
|Scott Mellanby Interference against Darryl Sydor|
|Greg De Vries Hooking against Vinny Prospal|
|Dan Boyle Roughing against Garnet Exelby|
|Garnet Exelby Roughing against Dan Boyle|
|Jaroslav Modry Hooking against Dimitri Afanasenkov|
|Rob DiMaio Cross checking against Garnet Exelby|
|Cory Sarich Tripping against Peter Bondra|
|Garnet Exelby Cross checking against Evgeny Artyukhin|
|Peter Bondra Hooking|
|Eric Boulton Elbowing (maj) against Paul Ranger|
|Eric Boulton Game misconduct against Paul Ranger|