for this game

St. Louis, Smith lift Lightning past Thrashers

Jan 5, 2009 - 2:04 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Martin St. Louis and Mike Smith helped the Tampa Bay Lightning get out of the Southeast Division cellar.

St. Louis recorded a pair of tallies and Smith set aside 27 shots, propelling the Lightning to a 4-1 win over the woeful Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on Sunday.

Defenseman Steve Eminger notched a goal and an assist, Ryan Malone also tallied and Vaclav Prospal set up a pair of goals for Tampa Bay, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

"Shutouts are hard to come by," Smith said of his bid, which ended in the game's waning seconds. "Wins are more important for our team right now."

Erik Christensen recorded his second goal of the season and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves for the Thrashers, who failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since the club won five straight from November 2-16, 2008.

"Our give-a-(darn) level is at zero," Thrashers head coach John Anderson said. "After a big win against Vancouver, against a real good hockey team ... we throw that game.

"I got to question whether anybody cares in that locker room right now. It's a joke. We coach every game with desperation right now."

Both the Lightning and the Thrashers have had disappointing 2008-09 campaigns and entered this one separated by one point for last place in the Southeast.

Tampa Bay found its long lost power play in Atlanta.?? Behind the solid play of St. Louis and Smith, the Lightning got the win, too.

Frustrated by the special team's lack of production, Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet sent a message to St. Louis and captain Vincent Lecavalier, sitting the duo on the Lightning's first power play.

"Obviously, we haven't scored on the power play," St. Louis said of the demotion. "It is what it is."

Whatever it was, the move paid dividends.

Eminger snapped a 5-for-59 streak of futility with the extra attacker with a power-play tally from just above the right faceoff circle 2:48 into the game.

St. Louis doubled the advantage in the second period before cashing in on the power play in the third period.

Tampa Bay's point leader redirected a shot from Lecavalier past the stick of Lehtonen to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead at 16:40 of the second period.

St. Louis beat Lehtonen from the slot 60 seconds into the final period before Malone banged the puck off the Atlanta netminder's left stake from behind the net to propel Tampa Bay past Atlanta in the standings.

"We wanted to chip in and we did that tonight," St. Louis said.

The much-maligned Tampa Bay power play unit finished 2-for-4. But Tocchet is not ready to reinstall St. Louis and Lecavalier with the extra attacker just yet.

"I think they needed a mental break," Tocchet said. "I went with whoever was up. I don't know if we're going to change it (back) yet. We're just going to do that and see how it goes."

The lowly Thrashers, who have won just twice here since November 14, could not solve Smith for most of the game.?? The Tampa Bay netminder set aside the first 27 shots he faced before allowing Christensen's goal with 21.1 seconds remaining in the contest.

"It really didn't matter," Smith said of the shutout. "Obviously, I'd like to have those (shutout) numbers. The main thing is that we played well as a team and got a big win on the road."

As the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" cascaded once again from the arena's public address system, signaling yet another home loss, the frustrations mounted in the home locker room below.

"We need to dig deep here and come out with better efforts," Atlanta right wing Chris Thorburn said. "We have to get guys going to the net. We just aren't doing that enough."

Bryan Little, Atlanta's leading goal scorer with 19 tallies, left the game after two periods with a rib contusion.?? He did not return.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 2 4
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, ADAM HALL) 2:48
    2ND PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 14 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, VACLAV
    PROSPAL) 16:20
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 15 (VACLAV PROSPAL, STEVE
    EMINGER) 1:00
    T

    Jan 4 7:25 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - ERIK CHRISTENSEN 2 (JIM SLATER, ERIC BOULTON) 19:38

    Lightning 4, Thrashers 1  3rd - 0:22Jan 4 7:22 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    ATLANTA 0
    3RD PRD: TAM - RYAN MALONE 10 (ADAM HALL, VLADIMIR MIHALIK) 18:16

    Lightning 4, Thrashers 0  3rd - 1:44Jan 4 7:21 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    ATLANTA 0
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 15 (VACLAV PROSPAL, STEVE
    EMINGER) 1:00

    Lightning 3, Thrashers 0  3rd - 19:00Jan 4 6:51 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 2
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, ADAM HALL) 2:48
    2ND PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 14 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, VACLAV
    PROSPAL) 16:20
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TA

    Jan 4 6:31 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 0
    2ND PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 14 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, VACLAV
    PROSPAL) 16:20

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 0  2nd - 3:40Jan 4 6:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, ADAM HALL) 2:48
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 13 13
    ATL 7 7
    GOALIES: TAM - MIKE SMITH
    ATL

    Jan 4 5:40 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 3 (JUSSI JOKINEN, ADAM HALL) 2:48

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 0  1st - 17:12Jan 4 5:14 PM
  • 5
    roots
    davipilo Added 5 roots

    Lightning vs. ThrashersJan 4 12:25 PM