The Tampa Bay Lightning have the Thrashers’ number, and apparently now that number is nine – that’s the number of games in a row that the Bolts have taken from the Thrashers. When you’re a team fighting for first place in your division, it’s not a good idea to have a divisional opponent own the longest winning streak over your club. Someone needs to send the Thrashers a memo.
Steven Stamkos is given credit for scoring the first goal of the game, but in all honesty that dubious distinction needs to go to Dustin Byfuglien. Buff reflexively went for the puck after Pavelec surrendered a rebound, knocking it past the goaltender.
The Thrashers came back to knot it at one all with a booming slap shot from Zach Bogosian for his third goal of the year. As Ben Wright pointed out, this gives Bogosian his twenty-second career goal, making him the sole owner of number two all time in goals for Thrashers’ defensemen. Just three minutes later, recently returned captain Vincent Lecavalier scored his fifth goal of the season, knocking in a big rebound given up by Pavelec.
Pavelec’s rebound control has been outstanding lately, but tonight was not a night for him to remember. Luckily, Dan Ellis was just as guilty of allowing some big bounces as well. Jim Slater set up the tying goal by bouncing the pucks off Ellis’ pads and directly to Freddy Modin, who tapped the puck in past a sprawling Ellis to tie the game with three minutes and forty three seconds to go.
Unfortunately, the Thrashers blew a chance to start the overtime on a 4-on-3. Victor Hedman was assessed a penalty for delay of game with just a minute and thirteen seconds before overtime. Unfortunately, Dustin Byfuglien felt the need to board Randy Jones into the wall with eleven seconds left, giving the Bolts their sixth and final powerplay of the night. Lecavalier scored the game winning goal a minute and thirteen seconds into overtime – with assists from Thrasher killers Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
The Thrashers end the night three points behind the Bolts and Lightning, who both have 47. Atlanta is still ensconced at 6th place in the East, comfortably in a playoff spot – but stringing some wins together starting Tuesday in Pittsburgh would be helpful.