Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Lightning 6, Thrashers 2


TAMPA, Fla. -- Mathieu Darche fought hard near the net, and the result was a rare goal.

Martin St. Louis and Darche scored 39 seconds apart during a three-goal second period to help the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers 6-2 on Saturday night.

Darche, a veteran minor leaguer, hadn't scored an NHL goal since Nov. 10, 2001. This was his 20th NHL game since the his first NHL goal six years ago when he was with Columbus.

"It was nice to see him get a reward," said Chris Gratton, who is the center of the Lightning's third line with Darche and Michel Ouellet. "He's been working real hard. He's always around that net, and if he continues to do that, the pucks are going to follow him into the crease area and he's going to get even more goals."

Tampa Bay got two goals from Vinny Prospal. Gratton and Vincent Lecavalier had the other goals, helping the Lightning (4-2-0) stay unbeaten in four home games this season.

"We won't score pretty goals like Marty (St. Louis) and Vinny (Lecavalier) do, we won't zig-zag, but we'll tire them out," Darche said.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Brett Sterling scored for the defending Southeast Division champion Thrashers (1-7-0), who are winless in four road games. Johan Hedberg allowed five goals on 24 shots before being pulled after two periods.

"We hung Moose out to dry a little bit," Thrashers general manager and interim coach Don Waddell said.

After Lecavalier's breakaway goal at 5:36 of the second make it 3-1, the Lightning broke the game open late in the period on goals by St. Louis (18:04), during a power play, and Darche (18:43).

Atlanta was lucky to trail 2-1 after the first, a period where the Thrashers were outshot 17-2.

Tampa Bay, which had the first nine shots, took a 1-0 lead when Prospal scored on the rebound of his own shot at 5:10 of the first.

Kovalchuk tied it at 1-all with a breakaway goal with 5:41 left in the first. The high-scoring forward had just one goal in his nine previous games against Tampa Bay. Kovalchuk's goal also snapped Atlanta's road goal-less streak at 145 minutes, 21 seconds.

Gratton's goal at 18:54 gave the Lightning a 2-1 advantage after the first.

"We almost weathered the storm there and gave up a bad goal at the end of the first period," Waddell said.

Prospal scored his seventh goal of the season during a power play in the third. Sterling scored his first NHL goal in the final period.

"He's playing honest, and good things are happening," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said of Prospal, who his off to the best offensive start in his career.

Notes: Tampa Bay D Dan Boyle (wrist surgery) is ready to resume practicing this coming week and could return to the lineup shortly. "He's close," Tortorella said. "We got a real good report from the doctor." ... Atlanta has been outscored 21-4 on the road this season. ... The Thrashers are 1-1 since Waddell became the interim coach last Wednesday when coach Bob Hartley was fired. ... Prospal has 15 goals and 45 points in 38 games against the Thrashers.

Copyright 2017 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.
Atlanta (1-7-0)1012
Tampa Bay  (4-2-0) «2316
Three Stars
V. Prospal

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
M. St. Louis

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
P. Ranger

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
05:10Vaclav Prospal (6), Snap Shot. Assist: Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger
14:19Ilya Kovalchuk (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Niclas Havelid, Johan Hedberg
18:54Chris Gratton (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Michel Ouellet
05:36Vincent Lecavalier (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Shane O'Brien
18:04Power Play - Martin St. Louis (1), Wrap Shot. Assist: Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier
18:43Mathieu Darche (1), Backhand Shot. Assist: Chris Gratton, Paul Ranger
07:16Power Play - Vaclav Prospal (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis
07:47Brett Sterling (1), Tip-In. Assist: Bryan Little
Penalty Summary
10:18Dupuis, 2 min, Holding the stick
02:32Little, 2 min, Hooking
08:06Smaby, 2 min, High sticking
15:05Ranger, 2 min, Holding
17:36Haydar, 2 min, Delaying Game
05:56Zhitnik, 2 min, Delaying Game
17:53Pavelec, 2 min, Delaying Game
Tampa Bay177630
Johan Hedberg39:52195
Ondrej Pavelec20:0051
Johan Holmqvist59:53182
Game Information
Attendance - 19420
Referees - Kerry Fraser, Gord Dwyer
Linesmen - Don Henderson, Jonny Murray
Other Games
Buf 2 Final
Mon 4
Fla 1 Final
Ott 4
Min 3 Final
StL 1
Ana 1 Final
Dal 3
NYR 0 Final
Bos 1
Nash 0 Final
SJ 3
Pitt 2 Final
Wash 1
Car 2 Final
Phi 3
Edm 1 Final
Cal 4
NJ 3 Final
Chi 6 Final
Tor 4
Det 5 Final
Pho 2