THRASHERS (23-18-9) at LIGHTNING (29-15-5)
TV -- SPORTSOUTH (HD); SUN (HD)
Last 10 -- Atlanta 3-4-3; Tampa Bay 6-4-0
Season series -- The Lightning are going for a sweep of the six-game season series and their 11th consecutive win against the Thrashers. The Bolts won 3-2 in a shootout at Atlanta on Thursday.
Big story -- The Lightning, the NHL's road warriors this season, can unpack and get used to some home cooking -- the visit from the Thrashers is the start of a 12-game homestand that will keep them off the road until late February. The come home after back-to-back shootout wins at Atlanta and Florida. The Thrashers have lost back-to-back shootouts at home to the Lightning and New York Rangers.
Thrashers -- Atlanta hasn't trailed during the 130 minutes of regulation and overtime in its last two games, but has only a pair of shootout losses to show for it. Saturday's loss to the Rangers was especially frustrating -- New York was playing without a half-dozen regulars, lost two more players during the game and still forced overtime on a late goal by Brian Boyle before beating the Thrashers in the shootout.
"We need to win, there's no doubt," a frustrated coach Craig Ramsay said. "We need to fight for points. Every point is vital. So we got a point. But they have to understand the timing of this. Playing well is a good thing. Winning is better. We have to be willing to pay the price in the third period to win. That's the frustrating part. Everybody had to be involved. We have to find a way to win."
Lightning -- Dan Ellis has kind of been lost in the shuffle since the Lightning acquired Dwayne Roloson to be their No. 1 goaltender . But Ellis came up big in the win at Florida on Friday, stopping 29 shots through 65 minutes and making three more saves in the shootout.
Roloson is 41 -- so while he may carry the load, Ellis figures to get his chances to play down the stretch. His performance against Florida was an argument for more playing time.
"I thought he played great," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "He stayed poised under pressure and he gave the rest of the team poise, too."
Who's hot -- Nik Antropov has points in Atlanta's last four games, and captain Andrew Ladd has 8 points in the last nine. … Steven Stamkos has 6 goals and 9 points in Tampa Bay's last five games.
Injury report -- Atlanta is still without forwards Evander Kane (mid-body), Fredrik Modin (undisclosed) and Jim Slater (concussion), as well as goaltender Chris Mason (knee). … The Lightning are as healthy as a team can be at this time of the season.
Stat pack -- Dominic Moore got the deciding goal in the shootout on back-to-back nights this week. Before that, he had never taken a shootout attempt. … Tampa Bay's winning streak against Atlanta is the longest active string by one team against another.
Puck drop -- One reason for the Lightning's success against Atlanta has been the play of Stamkos, who scored both of Tampa Bay's regulation goals in the game on Thursday. The No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft has scored 15 times in 17 career games against the Thrashers -- though he has no idea why he's enjoyed so much success.
"I don't know what it is," Stamkos said. "It's one of those times where the hockey gods are on your side."