Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bolts Finally Find First Victory for Melrose

By JC De La Torre

After three straight losses in overtime, Tampa Bay finally won one in OT, defeating the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 to give new Head Coach Barry Melrose his first victory as Lightning head coach and the first coaching win for Melrose since April 6, 1995. Amazingly, despite the slow start, with the win over the Thrashers, the Lightning moved out of the cellar in the Southeast division and are only 2 points out of first place.

The formula appeared similar for Tampa Bay. The Bolts raced to a 2-0 lead going into the third period on goals from Mark Recci and Vinny Prospal, then watched in horror as they blew the two goal lead. At 6:37 of the third period, Colby Armstrong pulled the Thrashers within 1 goal from Todd White. Then with only 0:36 seconds left in the game, Todd White broke Tampa Bay's heart with a goal, tying it at 2 and sending it back to overtime.

The Lightning would get a break in the extra session. Thrashers Center Bryan Little would get called for tripping Marty St. Louis, giving Tampa Bay a 4-3 man advantage. The Bolts would take advantage, as St. Louis snuck around a a defenseman and charge the net drawing the D to him, he then set a nice drop pass to stick of Vincent Lecavalier who blasted it in for the game winning goal.

It was one of the better performances of the season for Tampa Bay, as they outshot the Thrashers, 36-33, and had their lowest penalty minute total of the season, just 6, all of which occurred in the second period.

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