Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 6)

Tampa Bay leads 6-0

Game 1: Saturday, October 9th
Game 2: Friday, October 22nd
Game 3: Wednesday, December 15th
Game 4: Sunday, December 26th
Game 5: Thursday, January 20th
Game 6: Sunday, January 23rd

Lightning 3

(21-10-5, 47 pts)

Jets 2

(19-13-6, 44 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 26, 2010

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

1 2 3 OT T
TB 1 1 0 13
WPG 0 1 1 02

V. Lecavalier (Lightning - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

O. Pavelec (Jets - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .912

Z. Bogosian (Jets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Lightning-Thrashers Preview


The Tampa Bay Lightning hoped to be in first place in the competitive Southeast Division by the holiday break, despite playing a majority of their games away from home. Another victory against a division rival would keep them in that position.

Tampa Bay plays its NHL-high 22nd road game Sunday night looking to beat the Atlanta Thrashers for the ninth straight time.

Tampa Bay improved to 10-8-3 on the road Thursday with a 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers. That put the Lightning (20-10-5) into a first-place tie with Washington and two points ahead of Atlanta. Tampa Bay also won its 20th game quicker than any other season in franchise history.

"With the crazy schedule we had, 15 of 21 games on the road, we wanted to survive above .500. We did more than that," first-year coach Guy Boucher said. "Our short-term goal was to be first in our division by Christmas. It just shows how much character the guys have."

The Lightning have gone 5-0-2 in their last seven, gaining points on the Capitals, who recently lost eight straight.

Steven Stamkos scored his 27th goal against the Rangers and is second only to Sidney Crosby for the league lead. Martin St. Louis also scored and added his team-high 31st assist, giving him eight points in his last four.

Despite having scored three or more

goals in eight of their last 12, the Lightning are the only team in the NHL either first or second on its division being outscored. Opponents have a 112-107 advantage in goals, even though Tampa Bay have given up the third-fewest shots in the league.

Dan Ellis made his third straight start in place of the injured Mike Smith (knee) and stopped 34 shots.

"We're a team that doesn't give up a lot of shots a lot. I enjoy those kinds of games," Ellis said. "It just keeps you in your game when you have constant action."

Ellis is 2-1-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average in three career starts against Atlanta, all while playing for Nashville.

The Thrashers (19-13-5) experienced plenty of action Thursday in a 4-1 loss to Boston, helping combine for 118 penalty minutes in a fight-filled affair. It was the second straight loss for Atlanta, which has lost four of six.

Despite the slump, the Thrashers can force a three-way first-place tie in the division with a win and Washington loss in Carolina.

Dustin Byfuglien scored against the Bruins, giving him a career-high 37 points and besting his previous high of 36 set in 2007-08 playing with Chicago.

Byfuglien's reputation with the Blackhawks centered around his inconsistency, which showed with only 34 points in 82 games during Chicago's Stanley Cup-winning season. However, the offseason trade to the Thrashers and a move from forward back to his original position on defense has seemed to rejuvenate the 6-foot-4, 257-pounder.

Tampa Bay beat Atlanta 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 15, dropping the Thrashers to 0-5-3 in their last eight against the Lightning.