Lightning
Thrashers
1 - 2 Final - OT
  for this game

Zhitnik scores in OT, ends Lightning's road streak

Feb 10, 2008 - 4:36 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- An unfortunate break put an end to the Tampa Bay Lightning's road winning streak.

Marian Hossa scored early in the third period and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik tallied 86 seconds into overtime as the Atlanta Thrashers recorded a 2-1 triumph over the Lightning, who had won their previous six games away from home.

Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves for the Thrashers, who have won four straight games against the Lightning after losing the first two meetings this season.

"These are even more important than our other games," Lehtonen said of the Southeast Division matchup. "It was good to come back and get two points."

"This is a great performance by Lehtonen," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said. "He kept us in it. Kari's in a zone right now. We talked about how he needed to step up, and he did that."

All-Star Vincent Lecavalier scored and Johan Holmqvist turned aside 20 shots for Tampa Bay, which fell to 9-15-3 on the road.

After breaking his stick, Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba watched Zhitnik cut across the slot in front of him and unleash a hard wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that got past Holmqvist. It was just the second goal of the season for Zhitnik, whose other tally came on December 29 against Boston.

"I saw the defenseman had no stick, so I was going to shoot," Zhitnik said. "I made a move and shot the puck. I thought it was a pretty good shot."

"They won on a broken stick," Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis said. "They wouldn't have gotten that scoring chance if (Kuba) hadn't broken his stick."

Few fans at the sold-out Philips Arena would have expected a goal from the 35-year-old Zhitnik, who is known more for feeding All-Stars Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk than taking shots of his own.

But Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levinson had a feeling Zhitnik would score a goal in this one, telling the defenseman he would do so at the team's morning practice.

"I was coming out after practice and he said, 'You're going to score today on a slap shot,'" Zhitnik said. "I said, 'I hope so.'"

While the shot was not a slapper, it proved to be an important one. With the win, Atlanta (27-27-4) forged a tie with Carolina (27-27-4) atop the mediocre Southeast.

"It was half a slap shot," Zhitnik joked. "I'll buy him dinner."

"My owner's good for predicting things," Waddell said. "But where has he been the last couple of games we lost?"

Despite losing, the Lightning (23-27-6) still claimed a point and climbed within six of the division leaders.

"The points right now in our division are very crucial," Tampa Bay's Jason Ward said. "We have to keep working hard. We can't take too many games of giving up a point. We can't afford to do that."

Ward nearly earned his team a second point but was denied by Lehtonen just prior to Zhitnik's winning goal.

"It's just one of those things," Ward said. "It's frustrating. You get an opportunity on one end, and a goal (is scored) on the other end."

Following a scoreless first period, Tampa Bay finally broke through thanks to a turnover.

Defenseman Niclas Havelid's clearing attempt was kept in the Thrashers' zone at the left point by Brad Richards. Alone in the slot, Lecavalier received a pass from Richards and deked Lehtonen before lifting a backhander into the net with 7:12 remaining in the second for his 32nd goal of the season.

Atlanta tied the contest on Hossa's 24th tally 4:18 into the third.

Vyacheslav Kozlov found Hossa with a cross-ice pass in the left faceoff circle. The 29-year-old Slovakian then beat Holmqvist with a wrister to forge a 1-1 tie.

The goal was one of vindication for the duo of Hossa and Kozlov, who had one waved off in the first period.

Hossa found a wide-open Kozlov with a cross-crease pass for what appeared to be the opening goal of the game. But the call was reversed upon video review after replays showed that the puck rattled off the crossbar.

With the victory, Atlanta improved to 6-0 in overtime this season.

"We've got a pretty good mix of 4-on-4 players that get opportunities," Waddell said. "It seems like with 4-on-4s, we get the better (matchup) where our forwards and defensemen are capable of scoring goals."








  • NHL
    FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 0 0 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 2 FINAL IN OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 32 (BRAD RICHARDS) 12:48
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 24 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    4:18
    OT: ATL - ALEXEI ZHITNIK 2 (UNASSIST

    Feb 9 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 2
    OT: ATL - ALEXEI ZHITNIK 2 (UNASSISTED) 1:26

    Feb 9 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 2
    OT: ATL - ALEXEI ZHITNIK 2 (UNASSISTED) 1:26

    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 9 9:29 PM
  • 154
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    RUWTbot Added 67 roots (Overtime)

    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 9 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 32 (BRAD RICHARDS) 12:48
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 24 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    4:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    T

    Feb 9 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 24 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    4:18

    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 9 9:23 PM
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    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 9 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 32 (BRAD RICHARDS) 12:48
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 10 10 20
    ATL 11 5 16
    GOALIES: TAM - JOHAN HOL

    Feb 9 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 0
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 32 (BRAD RICHARDS) 12:48

    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 9 8:30 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 10 10
    ATL 10 10
    GOALIES: TAM - JOHAN HOLMQVIST
    ATL - KARI LEHTONEN

    Feb 9 7:44 PM
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    Lightning vs. ThrashersFeb 8 11:07 PM