NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Tampa Bay
(Thursday, March 30th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Atlanta 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Dimitry Afanasenkov scored two goals as Tampa Bay built up a four-goal cushion and held on to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Brad Richards added a pair of assists while Paul Ranger recorded his first NHL goal for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four overall. Netminder John Grahame came up with 19 saves in the victory.
Tampa remains in sixth place by virtue of tie-breakers, but Montreal and New Jersey have the same amount of points (83).
Steve McCarthy, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Bobby Holik each had a goal for Atlanta, which has dropped two straight. Kari Lehtonen stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced.
Tampa Bay drew first blood at the 6:07 mark of the first period, as Afanasenkov scored on a one-timer from between the circles. Darryl Sydor set the play up by racing the puck along the left wall and sending it behind the net, where Richards gained control before dishing it out front.
Afanasenkov struck again with 3:36 left in the second period to put the Lightning up 2-0. Ruslan Fedotenko's shot was saved as Tampa moved in on the power play, but Afanasenkov gathered the rebound at the bottom of the right circle and wristed it home short side.
Just 27 seconds later, Tim Taylor moved up from behind the Atlanta net and released a backhanded wraparound shot that deflected off the back of Lehtonen's helmet and into the cage.
Ranger then netted his first goal 8:04 into the final stanza to extend the advantage to 4-0.
McCarty got the Thrashers on the board with 9:16 remaining with a wrister from the point, and Atlanta added two more late to make it interesting down the stretch. Kozlov lit the lamp with 1:31 on the clock, and Holik added a one- timer from the doorstep with under a minute left to pull his team within one.
Atlanta was unable to net the equalizer, however.
Richards extended his point scoring streak to seven straight games. His 60 assists are a franchise record and a personal best...Tampa Bay is 4-2 against Atlanta in 2005-06...The Thrashers remain in ninth place in the Eastern Conference...Atlanta only drew one power play on the night.
03/30 22:24:10 ET