TAMPA, Florida (AP) — The Atlanta Thrashers had the Lightning
right where they wanted them Saturday night — on Florida ice.
Slava Kozlov scored the only shootout goal in Atlanta’s 4-3
victory over Tampa Bay. The Thrashers have won nine of the last
11 games in the series, including four of the last five in
Kozlov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Todd White each had a goal and an
assist in regulation for the Thrashers, who have won seven of
their last nine games in a stretch that began with a
franchise-record six victories in a row.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost six consecutive home games and
nine of its last 10. The Lightning are 3-10 in shootouts.
“We’re not getting balanced scoring right now, so that’s kind of
tough on the team,” Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said.
“You have to rely on basically one line all the time.”
Goalie Johan Hedberg improved Atlanta’s shootout mark to 6-1,
stopping attempts by Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Martin
St. Louis. At the other end, Karri Ramo shut down Bryan Little
before Kozlov netted the winner.
“They know what I can do by now, so they got some advice from
the coaches,” Kozlov said of his shootout goal. “But I just had
to read the goalie and there’s going to be something open, and I
found the five hole.”
Kozlov has 22 goals and 44 assists this season.
“We’re getting him to shoot more, thank goodness, and you can
see the results of that,” coach John Anderson said. “The hardest
thing about him to defend is that he never does the same thing
Kozlov opened the scoring 6:12 into the game. White made it 2-0
during a two-man advantage late in the first period, when the
Thrashers took 19 shots.
White has at least a point in nine straight games. His
career-high 66 points include three goals and two assists in
five games against Tampa Bay.
Early in the second period, Stamkos beat Hedberg twice in 82
seconds to pull the Lightning even. The top overall pick in the
2008 draft has eight goals and five assists in his last 12
St. Louis helped set up the first Stamkos goal, extending his
point streak to eight games. Tampa Bay’s leading scorer has five
goals and six assists in that span.
Kovalchuk put the Thrashers ahead 3-2 on a power play at 12:52
of the second, but Vinny Prospal tied it less than three minutes
Ramo finished with 33 saves. Hedberg had 26.