for this game

Lehtonen solid in return, lifts Thrashers past Lightning

Dec 21, 2008 - 3:24 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Kari Lehtonen returned in net and the Atlanta Thrashers got back to their winning ways at home.

Lehtonen turned aside 36 shots in his first game since October 30 and Vyacheslav Kozlov netted his team-leading 15th goal, powering the Thrashers to a 4-3 win over the woeful Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at Philips Arena.

Eric Perrin and Todd White added first-period tallies and Joe Crabb notched his second NHL goal for Atlanta, which snapped a seven-game winless streak at home.

"I felt excited to be back in the net," Lehtonen said. "It was great to see the guys respond. Hopefully, I can help this team win games."

Martin St. Louis scored a pair of power play tallies for the woeful Lightning, who have recorded just three wins over their last 21 games.

"It's frustrating," a dejected St. Louis said. "I don't think there are enough guys that really want to win."

Things also have not gone so well for the Thrashers while they were without the services of their No. 1 goalie, who has missed 21 games with a myriad of injuries.?? Atlanta notched just eight wins in those contests and entered Saturday's contest with 24 points - third worst in the NHL behind Tampa Bay (23) and the New York Islanders (23).

Kozlov gave Atlanta an almost immediate lead, beating Lightning goaltender Mike Smith with a backhander from between the circles just 18 seconds into the contest before things got interesting for Lehtonen and the Thrashers.

St. Louis broke an 0-for-27 power-play slump for the Lightning, beating Lehtonen with a slap shot from the point on Tampa Bay's first shot of the game at 3:54 of the first period to knot the contest at 1-1.

Adam Hall took a pass from Jussi Jokinen from behind the net and tipped it past an out of position Lehtonen with the Lightning's next shot to give Tampa Bay a one-goal lead at 8:15 of the first period.

Two shots, two goals.?? It was looking like deja vu all over again for the home team.

Recently demoted goaltender Ondrej Pavelec allowed three goals on four shots against the Boston Bruins on December 12 before reserve Johan Hedberg allowed a tally on the next Bruins' shot.

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored two goals on the game's first three shots against Pavelec.

But this time, the Thrashers had Lehtonen.

"The start wasn't the way I wanted it," Lehtonen said. "The first two shots went in. I didn't give up and kept going. It was good to get two points."

With a little help from his teammates, the 25-year-old Finn was nearly perfect thereafter, setting aside the next 31 shots before Malone deflected the puck past the Atlanta netminder with 2:32 remaining.

"I realized it was game time," Lehtonen said. "It's not a fun thing to see your team down 2-1 after an early goal. The team showed a great effort to score a couple of goals."

Lehtonen withstood a furious third-period barrage by the Lightning, who pestered 24 shots at the Atlanta goaltender, including four shots on net in a 12 second sequence eight minutes through the period.

"He sure picked it up there in the third period," Thrashers coach John Anderson said of his starting goaltender. "Yikes."

Perrin evened the score with a wrister from in front of the net at 15:13 of the first period before White put Atlanta ahead with a power play tally just over three minutes later.

Crabb added the game winner, beating Smith with a wrister from between the circles at 4:06 of the final frame.

Smith stopped 26 shots for the Lightning, who fell to 1-8-3 over their last 12 games.

"Embarrassing," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "I've got the players working after the game. Why work after the game? Work during the game.

"The coaching staff is running out of answers. We roll up our sleeves and five them information to play good. To see the way they played the first two periods was disheartening. I feel bad for our fans."






  • 20
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Lightning 3, Thrashers 4  FinalDec 21 2:03 AM
  • 15
    roots
    Silversword55 Added 5 roots

    Lightning 3, Thrashers 4  FinalDec 20 11:52 PM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Lightning 3, Thrashers 4  FinalDec 20 11:37 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 0 1 3
    ATLANTA 3 0 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (UNASSISTED) 0:18
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 11 (RYAN MALONE, MARK RECCHI)
    3:54
    TAM - ADAM HALL 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, RYAN CRAIG) 8:15
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 3 (BORIS VALABIK, JASON WILLIAMS) 15:13

    Dec 20 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 12 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, STEVEN
    STAMKOS) 17:28

    Lightning 3, Thrashers 4  3rd - 2:32Dec 20 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - JOSEPH CRABB 2 (ERIC BOULTON, JIM SLATER) 4:06

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 4  3rd - 15:54Dec 20 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 0 2
    ATLANTA 3 0 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (UNASSISTED) 0:18
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 11 (RYAN MALONE, MARK RECCHI)
    3:54
    TAM - ADAM HALL 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, RYAN CRAIG) 8:15
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 3 (BORIS VALABIK, JASON WI

    Dec 20 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2
    ATLANTA 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (BRYAN LITTLE) 0:18
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 11 (RYAN MALONE, MARK RECCHI)
    3:54
    TAM - ADAM HALL 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, RYAN CRAIG) 8:15
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 3 (BORIS VALABIK, JASON

    Dec 20 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 3
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 10 (BRYAN LITTLE, ILYA KOVALCHUK) 18:23

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 3  1st - 1:37Dec 20 7:44 PM


  • CORRECTION
    NHL TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 3 (BORIS VALABIK, JASON WILLIAMS) 15:13

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 2  1st - 4:47Dec 20 7:40 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - ADAM HALL 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, RYAN CRAIG) 8:15

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 1  1st - 11:45Dec 20 7:25 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 11 (RYAN MALONE, MARK RECCHI)
    3:54

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 1  1st - 16:06Dec 20 7:17 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (BRYAN LITTLE) 0:18

    Lightning 0, Thrashers 1  1st - 19:42Dec 20 7:10 PM