Lehtonen had 34 saves in his second consecutive shutout, and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored a first-period goal as the Thrashers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on Monday night. “It was just one of those days when everything seems to go your way,” Lehtonen said. “I try to do everything the same way, and sometimes the post helps me and sometimes I’m just able to get the great save. That’s the most fun you can get out there. It’s not going to last forever.”
Lehtonen, coming off a 6-0 win over Florida on Saturday, has five career shutouts. He has allowed two goals in three games this season.
Kozlov put Atlanta ahead 1-0 from the right circle at 12:26 of the first. The goal came after Tampa Bay defenceman Paul Ranger mishandled the puck in the Lightning zone.
“On this ice, I felt like we were playing a tennis match, not hockey,” Kozlov said. “You never know who’s going to get the puck.”
Marc Denis made 19 saves for Tampa Bay, which has lost two straight at home.
Lehtonen stopped three shots – including an in-close chance by Martin St. Louis – during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted two minutes in the second. He also made a strong glove save on Vinny Prospal’s shot right after the man advantage ended.
“He played great, I’m not going to take anything away from him,” Tampa Bay centre Brad Richards said. “But I’m not going to sit here and say the goalie stole the game from us. We’ve got to find a way to score 5-on-3. He made some big saves in key times. We’re making him look good at times, too.”
The Lightning outshot Atlanta 17-4 in the second and 28-10 overall through two periods.
“It’s obviously a great feeling to get a shutout,” Atlanta’s Andy Sutton said. “Especially as a defenceman, you really feel like you’ve done something, even though we got badly outshot.”
Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 with the man advantage and has converted one opportunity in 19 tries this season.
“We’ve got some guys struggling, putting pressure on themselves,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “We’re struggling offensively. You have to believe the scoring will come.”
The Lightning have four goals – including three by Ryan Craig – in three games.
The Thrashers failed on three power-play chances. Their first opportunity in the second period lasted 4 seconds.
“It’s a long season,” Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. “We don’t go crazy on this. We know what we have to do. You don’t get into the playoffs after a couple of games.”
Notes: Tampa Bay C Andreas Karlsson (groin) missed his second consecutive game. … Atlanta has outscored its opponent 5-0 in the first period this season. … The Lightning have allowed five goals in the first while not scoring.