for this game

Kovalchuk scores twice, Lehtonen posts shutout in Thrashers win

Apr 1, 2008 - 5:04 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Ilya Kovalchuk scored a pair of goals in the third period to lead the Atlanta Thrashers to a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Kovalchuk recorded his 51st goal of the season with 5:06 to play to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead. He added an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to cap the scoring.

Kovalchuk tied his career-high in goals with 52, matching his total for the 2005-06 season. Atlanta right winger Chris Thorburn tallied assists on both of Kovalchuk's goals.

"He is good. He's an underrated passer," Kovalchuk said. "He has worked hard every game. He has shown up for sure, and when you work hard, good things happen to you."

Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 36 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and the 11th of his career.

"He made a lot of good saves, but we we're certainly to blame also,"Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We didn't shoot the puck in the right spots and we probably didn't get to the net as much as we should have. He made some nice saves, but you've got to find a way to put the puck in."

Last year at this time, both the Thrashers and Lightning had qualified for the playoffs. This season, both teams are just trying to avoid finishing last in the NHL.

Atlanta had lost six of its last seven games and was coming off an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Carolina on Friday. Tampa Bay remains in the basement in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Atlanta.

"It was a tough battle. It was so humid and hot, it felt like I was playing in a swimming pool, all the gear was so wet," Lehtonen said. "It was great that we hung in there in the first two periods, and in the third, kind of took over a little bit. It was fun to see us play like this."

The Thrashers are now 5-2-0 against the Lightning this season, with the teams also meeting to end the season on April 5.

The Thrashers, who are 14th place in the Eastern Conference, stayed out of last place, which is held by the Lightning with 71 points.

"I haven't looked too much at the standings since we were eliminated.It really doesn't matter if you're last or second-to-last, but it's much more fun to win. That's why we do this and that's why we want to win every night. The guys are happy, and this is fun," added Lehtonen. Mike Smith made 22 saves for Tampa Bay.

With the loss, Tampa Bay has now dropped its home season finale for the seventh consecutive year. On the season, the Lightning finished with a 20-18-3 home record.

"It's disappointing. We want to win every game at home," Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier said. "We want to win it for the fans and we want to win it for the team. It's definitely tough, especially how great the fans are, how positive they are with us, cheering us on and everything. It's disappointing."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 2 2
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 51 (CHRIS THORBURN, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    14:56
    ATL - (EN) ILYA KOVALCHUK 52 (BOBBY HOLIK, CHRIS THORBURN)
    19:01
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: ATL - 0 OF 3, TAM - 0 OF 6.
    SHOTS O

    Mar 31 9:57 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    TAMPA BAY 0
    3RD PRD: ATL - (EN) ILYA KOVALCHUK 52 (BOBBY HOLIK, CHRIS THORBURN)
    19:01

    Thrashers 2, Lightning 0  3rd - 0:59Mar 31 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 0
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 51 (CHRIS THORBURN, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    14:56

    Thrashers 1, Lightning 0  3rd - 5:04Mar 31 9:49 PM
  • 7
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 25 roots (Close Finish)

    Thrashers 1, Lightning 0  3rd - 5:04Mar 31 9:49 PM
  • 32
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (Close Finish)

    Thrashers 0, Lightning 0  3rd - 6:00Mar 31 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 7 10 17
    TAM 14 13 27
    GOALIES: ATL - KARI LEHTONEN
    TAM - MIKE SMITH

    Mar 31 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 7 7
    TAM 14 14
    GOALIES: ATL - KARI LEHTONEN
    TAM - MIKE SMITH

    Mar 31 8:13 PM