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Tampa Bay at Atlanta

Stamkos scores in overtime to lift Lightning over Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Steven Stamkos likes when coach Rick Tocchet tells the Tampa Bay Lightning to attack the net.

"From a team perspective, I thought we played pretty solid and stuck to the game plan," Stamkos said. "We got lots of shots on net. We were forechecking, hard hitting."

Stamkos scored his 15th goal at 2:56 of overtime to give the Lightning their second straight win, 4-3 over the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday.

The Thrashers, who ended five-game homestand with three straight losses, tied it 3-3 on Slava Kozlov's second goal and rookie Evander Kane's seventh during a 1:52 span late in the third period.

But Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, ended the game by taking Martin St. Louis' pass from the left circle and beating Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec with a tip-in.

Stamkos was just glad the Lightning recovered after nearly blowing a 3-1 lead in the third.

"It's just a matter of protecting the lead," he said. "We can't expect to do that and win overtime after giving up those two goals."

St. Louis, who had three assists to push his season total to 19, was pleased Tampa Bay ended a streak of 10 straight games in which it was outshot.

"We wanted to get more shots tonight," St. Louis said. "We got some second opportunities."

Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who has won 15 straight against the Southeast Division and three of four overall, improved to 15-0-0 in his career against Atlanta.

Niittymaki stopped 28 of 31 shots to show why he began the game as the NHL leader with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.

Improving to 6-1-3 in his first season with Tampa Bay, Niittymaki didn't face a shot in overtime.

"Hopefully, he can keep it up," Lightning forward Ryan Malone said. "He made some big saves."

Stephane Veilleux's first goal of the season gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 5:45 into the second. With just 24 seconds left in the period, Malone used a wrister to score his 14th goal and put Tampa Bay up 2-0.

Atlanta made it 2-1 on Tobias Enstrom's third goal, a wrister from the slot, with 14:31 remaining.

Less than 4 minutes later, however, defenseman Kurtis Foster put the Lightning ahead by two again with a slap shot on the game's only power play goal. Foster's first goal came with 9 seconds left on a man-advantage.

The Thrashers, who have outscored opponents 32-13 in the third period this season, continued their trend of slow starts, dropping to 1-8-2 when trailing after two periods.

Lapses in concentration disappointed Atlanta coach John Anderson.

"They should be embarrassed after the first two periods," Anderson said. "That's the term that comes to mind. You get dejected because you feel you wasted the first two periods."

Anderson sounded as if he plans to keep reminding his players about avoiding poor starts.

"It's a game we had to have," Anderson said. "We talked about that. It didn't look like a must-win. It looked like, 'Oh, let's see what we can do and then come back in the third period.' "

Tampa Bay has earned a point in eight straight games, and the Lightning are reversing a trend of playing poorly on the road. Since losing 6-2 Nov. 2 at Philadelphia, Tampa Bay is 4-1-2 away from home.

"It's the resiliency of the team," Tocchet said. "Stamkos made a nice play to win it."

Notes

  • Stamkos and Malone, who have combined for 29 goals, began the game tied for second-most in the NHL as a teammate tandem.
  • Pavelec has lost two straight starts, falling to 6-6-2 after stopping 36 of 40 shots.
  • The Lightning improved to 6-0-0 when leading after two periods.
  • Atlanta's series record dropped to 28-20-10, including 18-7-5 at Philips Arena.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Steven Stamkos jumps for joy after the winning goal, his 15th overall this season. (AP)
Steven Stamkos jumps for joy after the winning goal, his 15th overall this season. (AP)
Scoreboard
Tampa Bay  (9-5-7) «02114
Atlanta (10-7-3)00303
Three Stars
S. Stamkos
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
K. Foster
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
T. Enstrom
ATL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
05:45Stephane Veilleux (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Konopka, Foster
19:36Ryan Malone (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: St. Louis, Stamkos
3RD PERIOD
05:29Tobias Enstrom (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kozlov, Antropov
09:20Power Play - Kurtis Foster (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Tanguay, St. Louis
15:37Slava Kozlov (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Antropov
17:29Evander Kane (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: White, Enstrom
OT
02:56Steven Stamkos (15), Tip-In. Assist: St. Louis
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:57Boulton, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
06:50Kubina, 2 min, Hooking
10:57Downie, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
19:15Lecavalier, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
02:46Schubert, 2 min, Boarding
11:06Afinogenov, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
07:29White, 2 min, Interference
12:18Tanguay, 2 min, Cross-Checking
19:07Downie, 2 min, Roughing
19:07Downie, 2 min, Roughing
19:07Afinogenov, 2 min, Roughing
19:07Afinogenov, 2 min, Roughing
OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Tampa Bay1591438
Atlanta881531
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Antero Niittymaki 62:56283
Ondrej Pavelec 62:39364
Game Information
Attendance - 13342
Referees - Stephen Walkom, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Scott Driscoll, Andy McElman
 
Other Games
Chi 1 Final
Van 0