for this game

Kovalchuk helps Thrashers top Lightning in season finale

Apr 12, 2009 - 3:02 AM
ATLANTA (AP) -- Ilya Kovalchuk waited until the day after last year's season finale to call for an improved roster.

Now that he's three months into his role as team captain, Kovalchuk spoke out immediately after the Atlanta Thrashers closed another season by missing the playoffs.

"I don't want to compete just for the playoffs," he said. "I want to compete for the (Stanley) Cup. I know for sure we need some more players."

Kovalchuk scored his 43rd goal, and the Thrashers snapped a three-game skid with a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night in final game of the season for both teams.

Colby Armstrong scored twice, Eric Perrin, Ron Hainsey and Colin Stuart added goals. Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves.

Tampa Bay rookie Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 overall draft pick, scored his 23rd goal early in the third period, and Matt Pettinger added a goal. The Lightning closed the season with a nine-game winless streak, dropping the last four in regulation.

Alternate captain Martin St. Louis didn't mask his disappointment in being associated with the NHL's second-worst team, just a one spot improvement after finishing at the bottom of the league standings last year.

"That's the only positive I take from this year, that we have some young guys to build some depth," St. Louis said. "We rushed some guys, and I think that will help us in the long run. It's hard. There's nothing like being in the playoffs."

The Thrashers won 12 of their final 18 game, including nine of 13 at home, under first-year coach John Anderson.

"I feel like we can play with any team," Anderson said. "The great thing about our team is we were very young."

Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet, who took charge after Barry Melrose was fired after just 16 games, went 19-33-14.

"Monday, we're going to roll up our sleeves and start working toward next year," Tocchet said. "Who's kidding who? There's no secret. It is what it is."

Added alternate captain Jeff Halpern, who assisted on Pettinger's goal, "Sixty-six points is not enough. We have to be better individually."

Kovalchuk, whose wrister on a breakaway gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead midway through the second period, scored the 32nd goal in his last 42 games.

"It's easy to win when you're out of the playoffs," he said. "You can loosen up."

After seven years with the Thrashers, Kovalchuk has advanced to the playoffs just once, in 2007, when he shared scoring responsibilities with Marian Hossa and Keith Tkachuk. As frustrated as Atlanta's fans could be, Kovalchuk insists his will to win is even greater.

"They appreciated what we did tonight," he said. "But I don't think they appreciated what we did all season long."

Tampa Bay's Mike McKenna and Karri Ramo combined to make 29 saves, but McKenna was on the wrong end of two redirected scores by Armstrong.

"I got a couple of really ugly ones," Armstrong said of his 21st and 22nd goals. "Our line played pretty good tonight. We got to the net and made some things happen."






  • 15
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 6  FinalApr 12 3:22 AM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 6  FinalApr 12 2:40 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 2
    ATLANTA 2 3 1 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) ZACH BOGOSIAN 10 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, RICH PEVERLEY)
    7:10
    ATL - (SH) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARTY REASONER, GARNET EXELBY)
    16:30
    TAM - (PP) MATT PETTINGER 8 (ADAM HALL, KEVIN QUICK) 17:17
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHU

    Apr 11 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 6
    3RD PRD: ATL - COLIN STUART 5 (MARTY REASONER) 6:20

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 6  3rd - 13:40Apr 11 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    ATLANTA 5
    3RD PRD: TAM - STEVEN STAMKOS 23 (UNASSISTED) 0:46

    Lightning 2, Thrashers 5  3rd - 19:14Apr 11 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 2 3 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) ZACH BOGOSIAN 10 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, RICH PEVERLEY)
    7:10
    ATL - (SH) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARTY REASONER, GARNET EXELBY)
    16:30
    TAM - (PP) MATT PETTINGER 8 (ADAM HALL, KEVIN QUICK) 17:17
    2ND PRD: ATL -

    Apr 11 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 5
    2ND PRD: ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 21 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, RICH PEVERLEY)
    16:32

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 5  2nd - 3:28Apr 11 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 4
    2ND PRD: ATL - RON HAINSEY 6 (RICH PEVERLEY) 14:09

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 4  2nd - 5:51Apr 11 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 43 (TODD WHITE, RON HAINSEY) 9:15

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 3  2nd - 10:45Apr 11 8:25 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1
    ATLANTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) ZACH BOGOSIAN 10 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, RICH PEVERLEY)
    7:10
    ATL - (SH) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARTY REASONER, GARNET EXELBY)
    16:30
    TAM - (PP) MATT PETTINGER 8 (ADAM HALL, KEVIN QUICK) 17:17
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Apr 11 7:52 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) MATT PETTINGER 8 (ADAM HALL, KEVIN QUICK) 17:17

    Lightning 1, Thrashers 2  1st - 2:43Apr 11 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARTY REASONER, GARNET EXELBY) 16:30

    Lightning 0, Thrashers 2  1st - 3:30Apr 11 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) ZACH BOGOSIAN 10 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, RICH PEVERLEY)
    7:10

    Lightning 0, Thrashers 1  1st - 12:50Apr 11 7:23 PM