GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (32-17-7-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (24-31-6-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to continue piling up points as they visit a
place they've only won once in five seasons when they meet the Atlanta
Tampa Bay earned at least one point for the eighth straight game on Monday,
beating the Washington Capitals 6-3 to open a 16-point lead in the Southeast
Division. The Lightning are 1-0-0-2 on their four-game road trip.
The Lightning have lost in regulation just twice in their last 23 contests
(16-2-1-4), earning a possible 37 of 46 points since Jan. 8.
Tampa Bay fell behind 3-2 at the two-minute mark of the third period on
Monday, but Martin Cibak was speared by Washington's Rick Berry just 48 seconds
later and that resulted in a five-minute power-play.
The Lightning took advantage, as Fredrik Modin and Dave Andreychuk scored
power-play goals 73 seconds apart to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead. Martin St.
Louis assisted on both goals during that man advantage and finished with a goal
and three assists.
"Nobody likes to be speared like that," St. Louis said. "Obviously, we'll
take the five minutes and take the two goals."
The Lightning will be looking to extend their point streak as they visit
Atlanta, where they've lost twice this season and are 1-8-3 all-time. Tampa Bay
is 0-4-3 at Philips Arena since a 4-3 win on March 21, 2001.
The Thrashers are returning home after ending a season-high, seven-game road
trip with a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Atlanta fell behind 3-0 after the first period, but rallied to tie the game
with three goals in a six-minute span of the second period.
The Thrashers, however, lost when Simon Gagne converted a penalty shot with
just 1:01 left in the game after Atlanta defenseman Andy Sutton shot a loose
stick on the ice toward him while he was skating near the boards with the puck.
"The referee made the right call," Sutton said of the penalty shot. "It's
just unfortunate it cost us the game. I just felt the stick shouldn't have sat
there for so long. I just shot it ahead and it happened to hit the puck."
Atlanta finished 3-4 on the trip, and is in 11th place in the East.
STANDINGS: Lightning - 76 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Thrashers -
56 points, 3rd place, 20 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - St. Louis, 30 goals, 41 assists and 71 points;
Chris Dingman, 124 PIM. Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 33 goals, 35 assists and 68
points; Francis Lessard, 127 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 23): Lightning - Power play: 17.2 percent (45
for 262), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (179 for 210), 8th.
Thrashers - Power play: 14.4 percent (45 for 312), 23rd. Penalty killing: 84.5
percent (246 for 291), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (17-15-6, 2 SO, 2.39 GAA); John
Grahame (15-7-1, 1, 1.86). Thrashers - Pasi Nurminen (20-22-5, 2, 2.86);
Frederic Cassivi (no appearances).
SEASON SERIES: 2-2.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 31; Lightning, 5-2. At Tampa, Fla., Modin had two goals
and an assist, and Grahame made 21 saves to improve to 8-1 in his past nine
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 16-10-3-3 on the road; Thrashers - 13-13-4-0