for this game

Lightning start out hot, dominate Thrashers

Oct 21, 2007 - 4:02 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Coaching changes only can take a team so far.

The good luck provided by their general manager-turned-coach lasted just one game as the Atlanta Thrashers came crashing back to earth Saturday with an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chris Gratton, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis each recorded a goal and an assist and Vaclav Prospal scored twice for the Lightning, who beat the hapless Thrashers (1-7-0) for the second time already this season.

"I felt we had a pretty good game against them the first time around," St. Louis said. "What I like about our play right now is our discipline. The last two games, we haven't taken many penalties. When you know that those guys on the other team get on the power play and get some confidence moving the puck, you keep it right where you want it."

Atlanta started out the season with losses in each of its first six games, including a 5-2 setback here on October 6, prompting the firing of coach Bob Hartley.

A Stanley Cup winner with Colorado in 2001, Hartley led the Thrashers to the Southeast Division title last season. But a poor showing in the playoffs combined with the sad start this campaign led to his ousting.

General manager Don Waddell guided the team to a win in his first game behind the bench Thursday against the New York Rangers, but the magic did not last long.

"The first 10 minutes in the first period is always their best period," Waddell said of the Lightning. "We almost weathered the storm there and gave up a bad goal at the end (of the period). That's something we have to learn because lots of games, you get down early and you're going to find ways to build back. Out team's been fragile."

Tampa Bay came out at a furious pace Saturday, peppering goaltender Johan Hedberg with 17 shots in the first period. Prospal notched the first tally for the Lightning, picking up his own rebound off Hedberg's pad on the right side of the crease and sending a snap shot into the net 5:10 into the session.

The Thrashers came back to tie it just over nine minutes later, when Ilya Kovalchuk took a pass from defenseman Niclas Havelid in the neutral zone and beat netminder Johan Holmqvist with a wrist shot on a breakaway.

Tampa Bay took over with 66 seconds in the opening period as Gratton wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle between the legs of Hedberg for a 2-1 advantage.

The Lightning put away the game with three goals on seven shots in the second period. Lecavalier's breakaway wrister off a pass from defenseman Shane O'Brien 5:36 into the session proved to be the game-winning tally.

Tampa Bay added a pair of goals 39 seconds apart at the end of the period, with St. Louis netting a power-play tally with 1:56 remaining and journeyman Mathieu Darche backhanding in his first goal since November 10, 2001 while with Columbus shortly thereafter.

"Right now, it's going well," Darche said. "We keep things simple. On my goal, we just got them tired on the boards, circling and circling. I got a good bounce and it just went in."

"Darche's played well," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "He's done the little things and now he finds the net. Everyone (on his line) contributed."

The highlight of the game for Atlanta came at the 7:47 mark of the third period, when Brett Sterling tallied his first career goal by tipping in a feed from fellow rookie Bryan Little.

Hedberg, who entered the game with an unsightly 4.15 goals-against average, allowed five goals on 24 shots before being replaced by Ondrej Pavelec for the final period.

"Getting a win is building our confidence back up," said Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger, who recorded two assists. "We've got another game on Wednesday and then a nice little road trip to the Northeast next week. We're getting it back to where it was at the beginning of the season."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 2
    TAMPA BAY 2 3 1 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 6 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, PAUL RANGER) 5:10
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 4 (NICLAS HAVELID, JOHAN HEDBERG) 14:19
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 3 (MICHEL OUELLET) 18:54
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (SHANE O'BRIEN)

    Oct 20 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    TAMPA BAY 6
    3RD PRD: ATL - BRETT STERLING 1 (BRYAN LITTLE) 7:47

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 6
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) VACLAV PROSPAL 7 (BRAD RICHARDS, MARTIN ST. LOUIS)
    7:16

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1
    TAMPA BAY 2 3 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 6 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, PAUL RANGER) 5:10
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 4 (NICLAS HAVELID, JOHAN HEDBERG) 14:19
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 3 (MICHEL OUELLET) 18:54
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (S

    Oct 20 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 5
    2ND PRD: TAM - MATHIEU DARCHE 1 (UNASSISTED) 18:43

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 3
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (SHANE O'BRIEN) 5:36

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 6 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, PAUL RANGER) 5:10
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 4 (DARREN HAYDAR, JOHAN HEDBERG) 14:19
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 3 (MICHEL OUELLET) 18:54
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TO

    Oct 20 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 2
    1ST PRD: TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 3 (MICHEL OUELLET) 18:54

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 4 (DARREN HAYDAR, JOHAN HEDBERG) 14:19

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 8:06 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 6 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, PAUL RANGER) 5:10

    Thrashers vs. LightningOct 20 7:46 PM