Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bolts Lose Another 1 Goal Game

By JC De La Torre

The Tampa Bay Lightning's inability to win close games reared its ugly head once again as they fell 4-3 to South East division rivals, the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 in a wild contest at Phillips Arena. Kari Lehtonen was making his first start in a couple weeks for the Thrashers and gave up goals on the first two shots he faced but saw his team rally in the first period to give him a lead going into the 1st intermission.

Just 0:18 into the hockey game, Slava Kozlov found a lose puck, skated in and put it past Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith to give the Thrashers a quick 1-0 lead. Tampa Bay would tie it at the 3:54 mark of the first period when Martin St. Louis ended an 0-for-26 power play streak for the Lightning with his eleventh goal of the season. At the 8:15 mark of the first, Adam Hall would get a rare goal to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. Atlanta exploded back late in the 1st period, getting goals from Eric Perrin and Todd White to jump back ahead 3-2.

After a scoreless 2nd period, Atlanta increased their advantage at the 4:06 mark of the third period to make it 4-2. Tampa Bay would make one last rally, as St. Louis got his second of the night on the man advantage to pull the Lightning within 1. Tampa Bay dominated the third period, outshooting the Thrashers 24-6, benefiting from three straight penalties called on Atlanta. The Lightning could only cash in on one of their opportunities and that would be the difference in the game. Lehtonen was sensational in the third, making 23 saves to preserve the Thrasher lead.

Frustration has set in for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who now have lost 17 of their last 19 games.

"It's frustrating," St. Louis told the Associated Press, "I don't think there are enough guys that really want to win."

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