NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Tampa Bay
(Monday, March 31st)
Final Score: Atlanta 2, Tampa Bay 0
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk scored a pair of third period goals as the Atlanta Thrashers blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-0, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Kari Lehtonen posted 36 saves to notch his fourth shutout of the season for the Thrashers, who have won two of their last three.
"It was a tough battle," Lehtonen said. "It was so humid and hot, it felt like I was playing in a swimming pool, all the gear was so wet."
Atlanta, which finished the road portion of its season with a 15-21-5 record, plays its final two games of the season at home against Florida on Tuesday and Tampa Bay on Saturday.
Mike Smith stopped 22-of-23 shots in the loss for the Lightning, who have lost five of their last seven games.
After the game, Lightning coach John Tortorella didn't sugar-coat the performance of both clubs.
"It's embarrassing to me, both teams, it's embarrassing," Tortorella said. "I don't want to hear about effort."
Tampa Bay plays its final three games of the season on the road. First the team plays in Carolina on Tuesday before playing in Washington on Thursday. The Lightning complete their season in Atlanta on Saturday. Tampa's final record at home was 20-18-3.
The first two periods went scoreless as Lehtonen stopped 27 shots while Smith made 17 saves.
With just 5:06 left in the game, Kovalchuk gave Atlanta the lead with a 23- foot wrister from the left circle on an assist from Chris Thorburn.
Tampa pulled Smith for the extra attacker, but Kovalchuk put the puck into the empty-net for his 52nd goal of the season.
Lehtonen has 11 career shutouts...The 52 goals Kovalchuk has scored this season ties a career-high he set in the 2005-06 campaign...Neither team scored on the power play with Tampa Bay having six chances and Atlanta two...Atlanta has won five straight against Tampa Bay after dropping the first two contests of the season.
04/01 02:50:48 ET